Test versions of new Windows Live services arrive

By Derek Sooman on
Microsoft has unveiled test versions of its Windows Live Expo and updated Windows Live Local services.

Windows Live Expo is an online classified service Microsoft plans to launch in the United States, the company said. In addition to traditional classified ads--such as listings of items for sale or apartments for rent--the service also will provide social networking and community features. Users can sign up for the beta of Live Expo.

The new test version of Windows Live Local, formerly MSN Virtual Earth, which is a local search and mapping service already in beta, will include a new viewing feature called "street side," Microsoft said.

Plenty of changes are on the way for Microsoft services: Hotmail is to become Windows Live Mail, and once Windows Live Expo is available, users will be able to access the service from other Windows Live services, including MSN Messenger, Windows Live Local, Windows Live Search, Windows Live Spaces and more. Microsoft is also set to release a test version of its new Windows Live Mail Desktop sometime in this month. This is an e-mail client that is similar to Microsoft's Outlook Express and can work in combination with Windows Live Mail.

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