Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Microsoft debuts Vine for Emergency Social Networking

Microsoft on Monday debuted the beta version of Vine, a new social networking service that works somewhat like Twitter but is aimed specifically at keeping friends and family up to date in an emergency.

A beta version of the Vine service was released in Seattle, according to The Seattle Times.

Vine appears as a dashboard on a PC screen that shows the local community the status of the user's contacts. It can be used to send alerts or reports and communicate with the user's network via PC or mobile devices, the newspaper said.

Microsoft provided details of the services and a screen shot that can be found by clicking here.

As with Twitter or Facebook, Vine can be used to instantly send messages to and keep in touch with a user's specific network of contacts.

However, Microsoft intends that the service be used when people need to keep in touch and informed during times of need.

It has a map on the screen that includes information about specific locations, including articles culled from 20,000 local and national news sources as well as public safety announcements from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Microsoft said.

It also includes information associated with people who are part of the user's Vine network, and alerts users when their contacts post a report or update their Facebook status.

Vine also allows sending and receiving of alerts to groups of people such as neighbors, friends and others who might need to be contacted in an emergency. Microsoft said the alerts can be sent as e-mail, text messages or other formats including via social networking applications such as Twitter or Facebook.

Microsoft said the beta version of the Vine service is slated to be available to a limited number of users in May.


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