MSN Screensaver with Search & RSS

We launched a beta version of the MSN Screen Saver (you can find it at last week. It was built by a few people in our London team. There wasn’t really a business model behind this; someone had the idea to build this because it would be “cool for users” and so we let them go and build it.

So what’s the big deal about a screen saver? Well, it displays personalized content (news, weather, pictures) from the web or your hard-drive. Key features include:

Search Integration: use MSN Search right from your screensaver (of course! that’s why I’m posting this here :-)

Personalized news (via RSS): choose MSN feeds or add your own RSS feeds. Mouse over headlines to see more info, or click to read the full story (if offline, content displays from local cache)

MSN Spaces Integration: display blogs and photos from your friend’s Space.

Personal Photos: choose a local directory and the screensaver displays the images as background photos. Move back/fwd/pause w/ buttons or using the left & right arrow keys and the P key.

Weather: see current weather and 4-day forecast for your location (US only)

Messenger & Hotmail integration: see count of unread emails and # of current Messenger conversation windows open. Hide Hotmail/Messenger info if your computer is in a public area.

We’re really excited about the buzz that the MSN Screen Saver has created. We’ve already seen a large number of downloads – mainly by word of mouth/blogs. And we’re listening to both the good and bad feedback. It’s all very important to us and we really want to learn from it and build a better and more useful product.

In fact, this morning we reviewed all the feedback we’ve had (and seen) so far and came up with our prioritized backlog for the next sprint. I’m really excited about the next round of features/changes (which we’ll release ASAP) and I think we may even delight some of the people who really slated us! :-)

Please keep the feedback coming – it is really important to us and we do listen to it.

Omer Khan, MSN Portal, Group Manager