Spaces update: Social networking goes live in Australia

spaces%20icon News Last night saw an update to MSN Spaces that included some noticeable changes.

– Social networking module now available for Australian users
– Windows Live Expo module now available
– RSS feed import module
– The ability to remove ads from your Space if you are a Premium customer
– Simple List Extensions for RSS now supported
– New banner ads in selected markets (Australia and Italy)
– Messenger status integration with your Contact Control (thanks Wes!) – Only viewable by those already on your Messenger contact list.

The move into Social Networking is something that has been known since it was announced in Summer 2005 at the Financial Analysts meeting. Despite being in a limited beta form in the Australian market only, the network tool is available to all at this link. This is also something we are likely to see integrated with Windows Live Messenger in the form of a "Friends List", a feature that was demonstrated at the initial Live announcement and which Niall Kennedy grabbed a photo of.

Users have complete control over who they add to their social network, with invitations needing to be accepted by both parties before publicly displaying in the module. Also available is the option to "tag" the user as well as insert comments describing them.

Update: I've also noticed new "Questions I've asked" and "Questions I've answered" modules. Is this the new service Windows Live Answers we at LiveSide have been hearing about? I'd guess so. More information on this to come through the day.

Screenshots: friendsoverviewsmall News Add Friend, Friend added, Edit Friend, Friends Overview

Phil Holden and Mike Torres have more details on the updates.