Ever wanted to meet an unofficial Microsoft Evangelist? Sean Bradford is one of them, and he has some interesting points on Messenger and the other Windows Live products.
mynetx: Wonderful that you take some minutes to talk with me about Windows Live and You.
Please tell me a bit about yourself. Is your life directly or indirectly involved with Windows Live?
Sean Bradford: Windows Live is my central hub for online communication. I’d have to say my life is involved directly with Windows Live. Most people know me as RebelSean but my name is Sean Bradford. I’m a journalist over at Neowin.net, where I focus on Windows Live. I’ve followed Windows Live’s development since the initial rebranding.
About the interview, I don’t know what I can and cannot answer right now as I am under quite a few NDA‘s.
mynetx: Well, I suppose that’s good news, seeing as things make progress.
Since when are you in the Live business? Tell me a bit about your history.
Sean Bradford: I’ve been involved with the Messenger community since about 2002. I’ve been beta testing Windows Live products and services since 2006, and I’ve been a Windows Live Butterfly since 2006.
mynetx: So quite long already…
Sean Bradford: Indeed. I’ve been a Microsoft enthusiast since as far back as I can remember.
mynetx: Do you think the Windows Live team cares for their users’ demands? Why?
Sean Bradford: Definitely, as the Windows Live ecosystem evolves so does the products. Windows Live Homepage is a perfect example. When the “What’s new” feed was launched back at CES 2009, users requested more feeds be added. Since then Microsoft has added 40+ services to the list of partners, including Facebook, Digg, Twitter, and much more.
mynetx: That happened only recently, true? Why did the complete Web Activity Provider list take so long (from January when Brian Hall announced it), until it was live?
Sean Bradford: Indeed it was only recently. That’s a good question. As with all Microsoft products, it takes time to roll out updates especially world-wide. I don’t know the specifics on that certain rollout, but I’m sure Brian wouldn’t mind answering that.
mynetx: If Microsoft took over Facebook, would you be using it then? Why?
Sean Bradford: Although I don’t foresee that happening, and I’ve not heard any plans on that, I would still use Facebook. Simply because it’s great social networking site to keep in touch with real life friends. And if Microsoft ever took over Facebook I don’t believe they would change the core business model, only improve it.
mynetx: Let’s talk about last summer’s big story. If Microsoft managed to take over Yahoo!, how do you think Yahoo!’s future would have been affected?
Sean Bradford: If that acquisition ever took place, Microsoft’s only gain would be in the search engine market. Live Search has came a long way, and it has a bright future thanks to Bing. With or without a Yahoo! partnership, Bing will continue to grow more and more.
mynetx: I think that the story isn’t finished yet… So far for the past. Looking into the future: Within the next five years, where could you picture Windows Live?
Sean Bradford: Your right, it’s not finished. Microsoft and Yahoo! are still in talks regarding a search partnership. It’ll be interesting to see the outcome of those talks.
Sean Bradford: Windows Live has grown tremendously since its initial launch. I think the main focus on Windows Live has turned to its online services. As more and more online services are launched, I foresee Windows Live becoming a central hub for communication and collaboration for users.
mynetx: Please provide two positive and negative comments about any outstanding Windows Live product.
Sean Bradford: I don’t think that I have anything negative to say about any Windows Live product, although I am glad to say that Windows Live Movie Maker is making great progress and there was a recent announcement by the team that a non-beta version will be released later this year.
Sean Bradford: There are a lot of positive things to say, I could name at least a hundred that comes to mind. But I guess I’d say that the development of Windows Live Messenger has been phenomenal over the past few years. From version to version the team has added innovation, and has taken the consumer experience to the next level.
mynetx: That’s something I can only confirm! Do you run Windows Live Messenger 24/7? Do you have some kind of a routine with Messenger and the other parts of Windows Live?
Sean Bradford: I do run Windows Live Messenger 24/7 but that doesn’t mean I’m online and available 24/7. No routine though, but I do check my home.live.com page every morning when I wake up to see what’s going on in my circle.
mynetx: Use your fantasy: how do you think Messenger will look like within the next five years? What new features could it present?
Sean Bradford: I’ve thought and thought, cannot answer that 😛 .
mynetx: Too difficult to imagine, or if you decide deliberately not to answer it?
Sean Bradford: I just don’t have an answer, too difficult to imagine…
mynetx: Well, looking at Messenger’s current functionality, what might the next release, Wave 4, feature?
Sean Bradford: Can’t comment on that my friend 🙂 .
mynetx: OK! Are you satisfied with the Windows Live services that are provided to you? Why?
Sean Bradford: Of course I am, I use almost every Windows Live product and service to date. It offers me the tools I need to communicate and collaborate online.
mynetx: What is your favorite feature in Messenger?
Sean Bradford: My favorite feature would have to be a video conference. It works smoothly, great quality. And I use it on a day-to-day basis with folks around the world.
mynetx: What was your first impression of Live Mesh? Could it be a new diverse method of file sharing among peers, or could it improve the current system at hand?
Sean Bradford: My first impression of Live Mesh was W.O.W. Finally a piece of software that is free and I can use on all of my machines at home, at the office, and at my relatives house. It’s one of the easiest ways for me and my family to share pictures, files, and at work we use it to send documents and larger files. I’m not much of a developer myself, so I don’t have an answer to the later part of that question.
mynetx: What about its correlation to the rest of Windows Live products? I see various ways of getting them more connected.
Sean Bradford: More to come with Wave 4 my friend 😉 .
mynetx: Do you wish Messenger would have a feature that a third-party IM software already has?
Sean Bradford: Indeed, and I think it’s well known across the spectrum and is probably still the #1 requested feature for Windows Live Messenger: Tabbed Chatting.
mynetx: I still hope this will be one of the breaking news in Wave 4!
As Messenger user, I’m sure you’ve got a good tip that not everybody might know about yet.
Sean Bradford: Can’t think of anything off the top of my head 😛 .
mynetx: What about the easiest level of tips? Doesn’t need to be complicated! 😀
Sean Bradford: I guess I’d have to say that the best tip I’d have for people is that if they don’t want people who are not in there circle seeing there status updates or random people sending them IMs to make sure they have that option checked in the privacy sections.
mynetx: You mean, the options you can find at http://profile.live.com/Permissions/ ?
Sean Bradford: No in Messenger’s settings.
mynetx: You said development of Messenger has been phenomenal. Somebody else just stated that ‘with the absence of joint voice conversations or video conversations, it has been anything but phenomenal. User interface is the only improvement we get.’ (Imran Hussain; via Twitter) What is your opinion on this?
Sean Bradford: Well as an avid user of video and voice conversations via WLM, I hardly ever have the need to have multiple users. If that is the case then I use Skype or another conference application.
mynetx: Right… Are you working on any project related to Windows Live, currently?
Sean Bradford: I am not, besides beta testing products like Messenger Plus! Live and Windows Live Messenger itself, I hardly ever code or develop anything 🙂 .
mynetx: And finally—is there anything you’d like to tell our readers?
Sean Bradford: Just keep up the great feedback and suggestions for the Windows Live Team. You guys rock, and thanks for the opportunity to participate in these interviews 🙂 .
mynetx: I have to thank *you* for your time! It was really interesting to discuss Windows Live and You with you. 🙂