Windows Live Spaces announces features

Windows Live Spaces screenshot

The next version of Microsoft’s Spaces hosted blogging product will include more social networking, gadget integration, and premium options such as no advertising on your blog. The features were announced tonight in a post on the Spaces team blog.

Spaces has a whole new look (pictured above) with cleaner lines and additional featured content than current spaces blogs. Your IM friends list can be exposed as a blog module showing off all their latest content and online activity. You can add the same gadgets to your blog sidebar that run on the personal homepage. The new site also makes it easier to navigate your categories and entries, exposing more content to your site visitors to encourage them to stay a while and get to know more about your digital content.

The biggest surprise is the addition of a Windows Live premium account with special features for Mail and Spaces users. Twenty bucks a year gives you more storage space in your online mail and removes advertisements from your blog as well as from Windows Live Mail. Yahoo! offers a premium mail service for $20 that is limited to just the mail property.