Microsoft has begun testing what they call the ‘Vine’ in the Seattle area. According to recent reports, Microsoft has developed the dashboard as:

Vine is a hyperlocal, personalized message and alert system. It’s intended to be a dashboard that people can use to keep tabs of their family, friends, activities and major events in their community.

The dashboard — which appears as a widget on a PC screen — displays a map of the user’s community and the status of their contacts. It also has buttons to send alerts or reports, which can be sent and received on the PC or as text messages on a cellphone.

Here is what Microsoft hopes that will happen. The hope is that families, soccer teams, and schools can use the system to notify users of schedule changes. Microsoft also wants the system to be used by emergency management personnel as a way to advise the public of emergencies and other disasters. The article also states:

It’s a little hard to see how Vine will stand out from the multitude of networking and communication services available already, not to mention the carcasses of similar projects such as Seattle startup Trumba, an online calendar and notification service..

But Savage still sees a need and an opportunity for a comprehensive service like Vine, which is designed to become a hub or console for various services that people use.

“We don’t want to re-create things that already exist,” she said. “

I personally believe Microsoft is late for the party. They have a tendency to lose focusĀ on what their primary products are, i.e. the cash cows of Windows and Office. Here is an example. They poured a ton of cash into Windows Live OneCare that was going to be a all in one software product to protect Windows. It fell flat on its face. Encarta is another example of a failed product. How about MS Money, MS Works just to name a few more.

I fear that ‘Vine’ is going to be another bow-wow! LOL

What do you think?

Comments as always are welcome.