Windows Live Spaces is Microsoft's blogging and social networking service.
Windows Live Spaces was launched in 2004 to compete with existing social networking and blogging service, in order to enable Microsoft to compete in this area. Microsoft marketed Live Spaces heavily to existing Hotmail and MSN Messenger users, so if you know somebody who has such an account, there's a good chance they might use Live Spaces as well. In fact, you'll find that any of your MSN Messenger contacts already in Live Space will automatically be listed as friends. The social networking aspect is pretty basic, with a friends list, ability to send messages and share photos - but that's about it. The community aspect that you'd find on other more refined social networking sites doesn't seem to be here. The blogging service is really basic, and basically amounts to you being able to write down some of your thoughts every now and then. It looks more like a scrapbook in the corner of your profile rather than a truly customizable blog. Windows Live Spaces was shut down in 2010 and users were moved to Wordpress.com.
Live Spaces is very limited when compared to other social networking sites such as Facebook or Bebo, and also limited when compared to dedicated blogging services such as Blogger or LiveJournal. In trying to be a bit of everything, Live Spaces has become a Jack of all trades, but doesn't necessarily excel in any one field particularly well. It's probably no surprise then that Microsoft has already partly realized the shortcomings of Live Spaces and decided to buy a share in Facebook. One nice feature on Live Spaces is the ability to specify an easy-to-use URL in the form of username.spaces.live.com, but that's about it.
Microsoft's Live Spaces uses the standard interface and color scheme that seems to be prevalent throughout the Windows Live environment. This involves a light blue and white style, with unusually small text and navigation buttons, which make it difficult to find things. There is also some fairly large and distracting advertising present.
If you already have a Windows Live ID (i.e., a Hotmail or MSN Messenger account), then you can use it to login to Live Spaces. If you don't already have a Windows Live ID, then you can register, but you'll find that Microsoft asks for quite a bit of private information, including your city, postcode and year of birth.
Live Spaces is a free service, funded by advertising.
If you already have a Windows Live ID then you might want to give Live Spaces a try, just to see what it's like. If you want to use a social networking or blogging service however, then there are better solutions out there.