Responding to comments

Responding to comments

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Hello –

Thanks to all for the first round of comments.  As I said in my previous post, this is the start of a two-way conversation intended to discuss how we build and operate our services. We love all the comments and suggestions and we’ll read every one.  I’ve responded privately to more specific issues raised in the comments, and I will respond publically to others, but there were some general trends that seemed quite important, and most of these relate to the purpose of this blog and what type of topics we intend to cover here.  The purpose of this post is to set expectations for the responses you should expect to get depending on the type of comment that is posted.

As I mentioned at the beginning, we will “dig a little deeper into how we build our services and how they’re used worldwide” and we dedicate it to “software engineers, web industry insiders, and to our most passionate Windows Live customers.”  As a result this blog is about the products and services we have in use today, as well as additional detail about new releases as we roll them out.  As such, there are many types of questions this blog intends to answer, including what’s the architecture for the mail system, how many photos get uploaded every day to SkyDrive, how do we detect and prevent spam, and what are we doing about SPIM

Most of your initial comments center around three other areas – the schedule for the “next release,” feature suggestions, and feedback on “shipping sooner.”  Because these will probably come up quite frequently and have the same general answer I thought I’d take the opportunity now to write up our response and frame the general approach.

The first category are questions about the next release of Windows Live, including the future direction and features for Windows Live.  As a general rule, we will only discuss these as we near the release or availability of product updates.  This blog is not intended to be a breaking news blog, but rather a blog that provides an engineering perspective that details the work behind the product, our implementation, and our decisions.  As a result you should expect we won’t comment specifically on those questions.

The second category are feature requests.  In most cases, we will not respond to these directly, and instead we will note these down and consider them alongside all the other feedback we receive. When we decide whether to fix an issue you’ve reported or to add a feature that you’ve requested, naturally we have to weigh factors like how much work will it will take to get this done, how will that impact all of the other features and fixes on our current schedule, how many customers will benefit versus how many would benefit more from putting those resources into a different feature, and all the other tradeoffs that are made in the process of developing products. Often we get competing requests where some people say “add more features” and others say “keep it simple” and as a result we can’t say “yes” to everything.  Our goal of course is always going to be to create the best possible set of products and services for users, but it’s always going to be a complicated equation to figure out which features get priority in getting built, and naturally, we can’t promise anything until we’ve built it and tested it, and know that it is going to work on a global scale.  As one commenter pointed out (using different words) often when we respond too soon the response feels empty. So while you are free to comment with feature suggestions, expect that we will note these down as we would other suggestions and ideas and consider them with the other feedback we receive, and that our response will be coordinated with the delivery of updated software and services.

A third category of comments relate to ship schedule and shipping more frequently.  As with any project, there is a balance between frequency of updates (how often do you release), size of updates (how much change do we release at one time), and retraining (how much existing customers have to learn with any change).  Each project or team has its own balance.  Some products ship “every day” and make small changes, others take longer to ship, and make larger changes.  And often, projects change based on the needs and requirements of customers.  In the end we need to balance all of these into our overall schedule, including what we intend to accomplish, how long we think it will take, and the expected customer benefit.  There are certainly folks (and many commented on this blog) who would like to see us ship “sooner” and “change more.”  There are others that we hear from in other forums who “don’t like change” and want us to “keep things as they are.”  And then there are the questions of which  features we pick and how long those will take to be delivered with quality.  In the end, I’ll simply say that we are generally happy with our release rhythm and we recognize as well that our customers and competitors continue to innovate, which increases the importance of planning well.

I hope this helps to frame the blog and our goals in this discussion.  Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

- Chris

19 Comments
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  • dad812
    1 Posts

    I am and have always been a PC user who ownes an iPhone, Why don't you guys make SKYDRIVE work with the iPhone??? talk about a following, while on topic livemail and its contacts should talk/update via an exchange type connection. This is 2009/2010 why can't these software packages work together and benefit ALL cell phone users - a WIN WIN for all...

  • No offence to MS but this post is a load of CRAP. Sounded like a you wanted to go around the real problems and not address them directly.

    You mentioned SPAM but didn't address it at all! Your real WL users are being left to fend off spam alone and shut out in what is going to be done.

    @Ckurt a great post? not to be rude but did you read it at all?

    @gery and technogran I agree completely!

  • I completely agree with Gerry. Trouble was I think you listened to the wrong feedback when you made those Wave 3 changes. Most techy able users and IT professionals aren't bothered about the Spaces side of it, because they are capable of either creating their own website OR they blog elsewhere.

    The rest of your 'ordinary Joe' users WERE using Windows Live as a blogging site! It was their primary hub, and from their Spaces they then made friends with others thereby creating a blogging community.

    Many of my friends on Windows Live left after the Wave 3 updates because Spaces was 'shoved' to the background.

  • I want to ask loads of stuff! And tell you why my Network on Windows Live has bled most of my contacts! Someone here posts that the Web Activities added to the What's new with your Network? was a great idea. I don't agree, and I am not alone. Before Wave 3, we had updates from our Spaces friends about what they were doing on here. Now, since the introduction of Web Activities, all updates about what everyone is doing on Windows Live (new post, comment etc) get lost in the 'noise' about 'fred bloggs posted this on Twitter or Sid Bloggs' posted that on Facebook. These updates wouldn't be so bad if you could then react to them in some way. (a la Facebook et al) such as comment on them in the feed, or even just 'like or dislike' they are entirely one sided in content. The only thing you can do is click on them to be taken to that external site.

    To react to the update you have to leave Windows Live. I have certainly found in my Network, and I am sure that this will be the same for others, that users are just simply leaving Windows Live and staying on the other site so that they can have 'chat' type conversations which are impossible on Windows Live (apart from in comments on your blogs.)

    My network is now more of less dead as a doornail. New users aren't aware that they can create there own webpage either on here, so don't know you can use Windows Live as a blogging platform now that Spaces has been relegated to the back burner in Wave 3.

    And why can't I use my Windows Live ID as it was meant to be? To save me from having to sign into Microsoft sites and use my password every time? It ought to work similar to Facebook connect.

    Sky Drive. Why can't I post my newly created Movie Maker HD video up to my Sky Drive to share on here? Why do I have to use YouTube?

    I want to see the excellent Ribbon interface applied to ALL the Windows Live Essentials suite so that they use a consistant user friendly UI. It could be used in Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Mail for consistancy.

    At the moment Windows Live is a nightmare to navigate for anyone new to the site, its no wonder they give up and go elsehwhere. Its too complicated and hard to find out just what services are included.

    When oh when will our Spaces page be given the recognition it deserves and brought bang up to date?

    When will you all put a stop to Spam on Windows Live? Everyone in the teams just stopping blogging on there because of spam solves nothing does it? I want to know how someone can get a Windows Live ID AND create a profile with the name 'no name'? Become much tougher at the Live ID end, or begin using some other method for comments. It has to be stopped because its driving users away.

    I love Windows Live and have used it as my home from day one, but even I am now beginning to lose patience. Your updates are too spaced out. Then there is too much to learn all at once for many users on Windows Live. They aren't all technological experts!

  • Gerry
    1 Posts

    A lot of us who use Spaces would like to know if it is being eliminated or not. After all of the negative changes were done to it last year, it has been basically ignored and hidden. Spaces was once a fun social blogging service where you could find friends from all over the globe. Now it is only a small piece of a Facebook like clone that nobody asked for. Could you please tell me what is in store for it, as I will be passing this answer on to others who have been wondering the same thing for a long time now.

    Thanks!

  • Ponders on how many have actually read and  understood what Video and Audio tags brings to the HTML 5 World.  

    It still uses Agents AKA players. a Video and Audio tag provides more metadata for a Agent to use. Be that the quicktime, Media player, Ogg, etc. or "gasp", flash or silverlight.  

    Perhaps a Browser Vendor may implement an Agent. But I do see them having a long road ahead of them implementing fully HTML and CSS.  let alone svg, math ml or a multitude of other specs.  Saying this since no browser currently fully implements HTML 4.01/xHTML1.0 or css 2.x correctly.

  • Can I suggest you do a blog post about the installer? The wave 3 installer is slow, pushy (add these apps you didn't want last time), demanding (close all your apps - all of them - and probably reboot as well) and a pain. And you don't only see it when you install - you see it every time Messenger pushes an update on you. For updates you should have a slim installer that has a tickbox to get the full installer with the option of other programs but that by default just does the update you asked for. It gives a bad impression before you get a chance to get the the good features and it makes me *hate* updating Messenger.

  • hi i have lot of suggestion for u :)

    1- In this site why didn't u use the windows live id login? instead another new registration :(

    2-In windows live for mobile i'd like to sync calendar and birthdays too the best is merge with myphone, skydrive and liveservices...for examplea instead myphone site u sync favorties and files with skydrive, contacts, mail, sms, task with hotmail

    3-I'd like to merge live mesh, live sync and other similar software and sync full with skydrive and live services...i think there are too many similar and confusional software and services

    4-i'd like a live video service like photos in sky drive for have full integration and service all in live with the same account

    5-the idea of im in hotmail is good but i think is better a bottom bar like messenger.it

    6-Add in windows live messenger for  mobile the possibility to have multiple connection with the same account

    7-Insert your account/contact in live contacts for send all your infomration easy to your friend in messenger, or phone by sms email like a electronic business card...for example if in messenger i click on view contact card on my avatar i don't see my info and i can't edit direct in messenger i think is easier and useful do that

    for now it's enough

    thanks a lot

    p.s.

    i have lot of ideas about mediaplayer and windows mobile too XD

  • CKurt
    4 Posts

    Excuse my bad writing I had forgot to read my post again afther posting it (small textarea).

    Also I ment to say PDC08 because at PDC09 the only thing they said was 'We'll talk about it at mix"

  • CKurt
    4 Posts

    Hi,

    Very nice post and I tought I would give some feedback about what I feel like is missing from Windows Live or could be inproved.

    # Why do you get "Bob changed his display picture" in your wat's new fed but doesn't the picture on the profile update? This should really be one and the same picture. (And let people set it to 'friends only' so no everybody can see it)

    # Why can't the background image I use in messenger also be the one I use on the web. You have the same idea and same themes but they do not sync.

    # Why don't my windows live mail feeds sync? Reading one on my laptop does not mark it as read on my desktop. Same thing for email. Same thing for adding feeds to watch

    # Why if you click 'Share with windows Live' on a site it tries to save it to your favorites and doesn't it just post is to your what's new feed directly.

    I do love how I can integrate all my social networks into my own what's new feed. This is a very very very good idea! It is a shame however everything in Facebook needs to be public to do it..

    I'm also a developper and am not happy about the availability of Windows Live Users data to us. There is only a way to get his contacts but no calender stuf, favorites, web aciviteit, newsfeed can be programaticly come by.

    The 'Live Mesh' demo's promises all this stuff. Devices , Folders , Pictures, User Info, Syncing between desktop apps over local LAN or over cloud automagicly.

    Rumors say Live Mesh Devices and apps will become Windows Live Apps en Windows Live Devices but nothing is confirmed. PDC09 said 'Live Services' and 'Live Framework ' were under the Azure block but nothing has been heard about that since then.

    Don't get me wrong I love the postect and love Windows Live but this new blog just keeps us in the dark for now. And I think untill MIX10 because you will need some big announcements there.

    So the blog seems to be a good idea If only you had something new to say.

  • @Drazic:GMail's threaded conversation is good as of now,but that cannot be true for rest of the decade.I believe Microsoft have engineers and resource to create next generation communication.Then why waste time in imitating?

  • raghupathy, my apologies for issues related to the site not looking good in IE6. The site design today was designed with the latest version of Internet Explorer in mind.

  • Drazick
    16 Posts

    I would like to see the :ive services embraces new Web Standards such as:

    1. The File API in Skydrive.

    2. Using Video tag instead of "Silverlight".

    Moreover, Please, imitate Gmail's threaded conversations in Live Mail.

    Thanks.

  • chris

    i would like to see something new in the way hotmail / windows live id's work, at home i have 2 hotmail accounts one for personal mail and one with a more professional address for job searching, now when i am out and about say at the library with my employment advisor searching for jobs i mainly use the job searching account but if i received an email from my advisor while at home i put it in the saved messages folder of my personal account so if i could login to a single windows live id on hotmail see and see all my hotmail mailboxes and just expand them or unexpand them as necesarry this would be really helpful to me.

  • @Islander - we have a public API for accessing messenger, that lets any web site add web messenger to their site:

    msdn.microsoft.com/.../dd570035.aspx

    This includes support for multiple simultaneous endpoints.

  • I have two things to say

    1.This site layout is not proper in IE6.why the hell still I use IE6 well its because no other browser is allowed in my company

    2.Well lets assume I know nothing about computer(Well why  assume :)

    Somebody explain me this.

    Bing Toolbar system requiremenmt:

    Processor: 800 MHz or higher for Windows XP.

    Memory:128 MB (256 MB  recommended) for Windows XP.

    WIndows XP: 64 megabytes of RAM(128 MB recommended)

    Pentium 233-MHz(support.microsoft.com/.../314865)

    Well XP might be 10yrs old but still its a full operating system

    why a simple toolbar need more memory and processor speed than an entire operating system?

  • Bydia
    7 Posts

    Instead of people posting feature requests all over these blogs in comments... why not setup a master list of products that people can browse to and add/vote on features... like is being done for Silvelight at: silverlight.uservoice.com/.../4325-runtime-feature-suggestions

  • Islander
    46 Posts

    Hi Chris,

    Groups and the possibility of logging into one WLM account from more than one computer at the same time are two new features, but even so long after release I am not seeing them in alternate clients, so I assume these parts of the protocol are not available for implementation into other software, right?

    And speaking about that second feature, simultaneous login, it's just perfect for those of us who use to be at several places, for example at home, at work, even underway, so here I see one big thing missing... an iPhone WLM client! Seriously, it would be just ideal to be able to log onto your account while underway, and without your home client being disconnected. No other client with WLM support as of today is able to do that.

  • Peaboy
    2 Posts

    So your first response to questions is "No Comment" but thanks for asking. Man, that is bad. I hope the blog gets better or it will quickly be out of my feed.

    -=p