I have been perusing those Windows 7 screenshots leaked to the web last week (build 6780) and one of the things I noticed missing from the ‘All Programs’ group is Windows Meeting Space, the ad hoc collaboration tool Microsoft introduced to make setting up meetings and make collaboration more simplified. A lot of persons have derided the software as useless and rarely used and I am wondering if Microsoft has been listening to its customers and decided to end development. I personally have never taken advantage of it except for testing or writing a review about it which you will find here.
Persons covering Windows Vista have also said some not so nice things about Windows Meeting Space, here’s a quote from Preston Galla over at Computer World:
Windows Meeting Center
Have you ever heard of this Vista feature? Likely not. And even if you have, you haven’t used it. It’s supposed to let you set up meetings over a network or the Internet either on an ad hoc or planned basis. But with no whiteboard, a worthless chat module, and no VoIP, who would ever use it? No one, of course. It’s a waste of bits — let it go.”
Then again, Microsoft could have just disabled the feature in Windows 7 or is planning more advanced features everyday users can take advantage of, since its more focused on groups in an organization today. I personally have some recommendations for it where social networking is concerned. The approach to getting everybody up and running now in Meeting Space is cumbersome, not seamless and dynamic enough. I wish it would just integrate with existing Microsoft technologies such as Windows Mail, Office Outlook and Live Messenger more flawlessly. Inviting somebody needs to be more convenient, a contact pane with quick access to my Address Book and Instant Messaging list so I can send a invite with a pre-ready message would have been nice.
Windows Meeting Space on Vista
I think Microsoft should make Windows Meeting Space into a social networking tool that targets not just businesses, but consumers. It clearly needs to be revamped. Make it a way for users to extend their personal computing experience with family, friends and colleagues. For example, you aggregate, data from a number of online sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Windows Live Space, Pictures, Music, Videos, Flickr and Office files. Have common scenarios setup, home work, business projects, travel with sub categories and makes it full functionality available to all editions of Windows 7 with support for video conferencing. Right now, Windows Meeting Space is limited to the premium Windows Vista SKUs. Hopefully the Windows Team has some surprises in store, hey, maybe it has become one of those Live Apps you will have download.