The folks over at msn recently launched a new (promising looking) Beta - MSN Screen Saver. It was built by a few people in their London team and (impressing for a Microsoft project) there wasn't really a business model behind this; someone had the idea to build this because it would be "cool for users" and so they let them go and build it.
So what's the big deal about a screen saver? Well, it displays personalized content from self-imported RSS feeds to MSN news to (US) weather and your personal pictures from both, the web and your hard-drive.
Key features includes:
- Search Integration: Use MSN Search right from your screensaver.
- Personalized News (via RSS): Choose MSN feeds or add your own RSS feeds. Mouse over headlines to see more info, or click to read the full story (if offline, content displays from local cache).
- MSN Spaces Integration: Display blogs and photos from your friend's Space.
- Personal Photos: Choose a local directory and the screensaver displays the images as background photos. Move back/fwd/pause w/ buttons or using the left & right arrow keys and the P key.
- Weather: See current weather and 4-day forecast for your location (US only so far and why not London where it was developed?).
- Messenger & Hotmail Integration: See count of unread E-Mails and # of current Messenger conversation windows open. Hide Hotmail/Messenger info if your computer is in a public area.
We're really excited about the buzz that the MSN Screen Saver has created. We've already seen a large number of downloads - mainly by word of mouth/blogs. And we're listening to both the good and bad feedback. It's all very important to us and we really want to learn from it and build a better and more useful product.
In fact, this morning we reviewed all the feedback we've had (and seen) so far and came up with our prioritized backlog for the next sprint. I'm really excited about the next round of features/changes (which we'll release ASAP) and I think we may even delight some of the people who really slated us! :-) posted Omer Khan, MSN Portal, Group Manager in the MSN Search's WebLog
So far I have only seen two drawbacks: MSN Screen Saver requires the MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search (how many Toolbar I have to download today to run the Web on my PC? One from MSN, one from Yahoo!, one from Google, one from - who's next? )and you can not import your existing RSS feeds via OPML but you have to add each URL one by one! 8O
Okay guys, if you remove the Toolbar requirement and add OMPL this is the perfect screensaver for me and also worth to use it with Media Center PCs (as soon as you support Screen Saver navigation through the Remote Control).
The MSN Screen Saver (Beta) is available free of charge from MSN's Screen Saver page and as always, don't forget to add the::unwired RSS feed too! ;-)
Cheers ~ Arne