Windows Live Beta vs Google Homepage

My office gives us the day off tomorrow, but it’s pretty much a ghost town already. I had a bit of time today to play with the Windows Live Beta. I was curious to see whether it was a step up compared to my.yahoo.com or google.com/ig.

At first glance, live.com looks like a clone of Google’s personalizable page (though live.com is even more streamlined). It’s easy to add content to the page, whether it’s “gadgets” (the Google homepage calls them sections) or individual RSS feeds.

One particularly nice touch live.com has that I haven’t found on Google yet is a way to import an OPML file. To test it, I exported an OPML file from my bloglines account and imported it into live.com. Very quickly it showed up under “My Stuff” as “Subscriptions”. From there, it was very simple to drag and drop individual RSS feeds onto my live.com home page. I didn’t realize right away that “>>” meant content would open in a new window, but once I did, I liked the functionality much better. I wouldn’t use this over bloglines right now, but I’d be very interested to see if someone could come up with a slick gadget for newsreading.

A second convenient feature live.com provides is the ability to add the results of search to your home page. It’s like the News Alerts feature at Google News, only instead of sending you an e-mail, you see the results right on your page.

live.com seems to work equally well in Firefox or IE. If I had to choose between google.com/ig and live.com right now, live.com has a slight edge in functionality.

If you’ve already got a Microsoft Passport (and/or a Hotmail account), live.com is worth trying out.