Officially, Windows Live is based on one simple idea : “that your online world gets better when everything works simply and effortlessly together. So all the things you care about online - your friends, the latest information, your emails, searching the Net ~ all come together in one place. Windows Live [it says] is a brand new Internet experience designed to put you in control. And this is just the beginning ~ you’ll see many more new products in the coming months.”\n\nLooking at the site it’s difficult to spot the difference between it and the array of web-based services offered by Google, or Yahoo,. or for that matter MSN. \n\nThere’s Windows Live Mail, which is Kahuna (Hotmail) with a new name, and uses the same smooth AJAX technology as Gmail.\n\nThere’s a “homepage that you can design yourself. Just sign in and get the content you want – news, sports, search results, whatever. Plus you can move stuff around at will – it’s up to you.”\n\nThere’s Windows Live Messenger, which is … well, a bit like the old Messenger.\n\nIn what way, then does this differ from MSN itself? The official blog says : <BLOCKQUOTE>\n\nMSN will morph into two brands, Windows Live and MSN. After a few successful years, the creators of the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer split the cast and concept in half and created a new and almost equally successful show, Angel. Buffy focused on the human experience, while Angel catered to the sci-fi-action-loving crowd. Think of MSN like Buffy and Windows Live like the Angel spin-off: same people and same missions, but divided in the interest of better focus. MSN now means content, like MSN.com and MSNBC. While Windows Live means services like Live.com, Mail, and of course, Instant Messaging.</BLOCKQUOTE>\n\nIt’s a bit rich bringing Buffy into it. Can’t you tell which audience they’re going for?\n\nYou would be tempted to think that this was just a rebranding exercise taking a little bit of this and a little bit of that, splashing a bit of AJAX aound, and calling some of it Windows. Why though should anyone switch from Gmail, Google Talk, Google Personalized Homepage to this familiar MSN/Hotmail/Messenger format?\n\nThe jury’s out.