Microsoft Corp started testing on Thursday a new dashboard view for its various Windows Live online services.
A Windows Live user can sign onto home.live.com and quickly scan for new e-mails, blog postings from friends, contact updates or try out other Microsoft services such as online antivirus and spyware scans.
"It's a quick view and summary for all of the services you are using on Windows Live," Chris Jones, a Microsoft corporate vice president in the Windows Live group, said in a phone interview.
The world's largest software company aims to create a large and engaged audience in order to compete against Web rivals Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. for tens of billions of dollars in online advertising.
Working in Microsoft's favour is a network of more than 300 million Windows Live users, who frequently log in to check e-mail and instant messages.
The company's other Web services are not as popular, but Microsoft says the new look could help introduce new services to existing e-mail and messaging users.
All Windows Live services will also have a home icon to take a user back to the dashboard view.
Windows Live services are linked on the back end by a common contacts database. A user can post a picture on Windows Live Spaces, its blog- and picture-sharing site, and send a notice to anyone on their instant messaging contact list.
Microsoft has said the next wave of Windows Live services is due out later this year.
Microsoft, Windows Live, Live Services, Windows Live Online, Dashboard, Live News