Microsoft will issue its first public .NET service this week with the release of .NET Alerts, previously named MSN Alerts. A component of .NET My Services, .NET Alerts will let users get up-to-the-minute updates from numerous companies, 20 of which have already signed on for the launch. And other services in the HailStorm family, including .NET Inbox, .NET Calendar, .NET Profile, and .NET Address, will soon join .NET Alerts. A business-oriented set of services, code-named Blizzard, is also in development.
"The .NET Alerts Service is an early but tangible example of how Microsoft is delivering on the .NET My Services vision, helping consumers access their information any time, anywhere, on any device, and just scratches the surface of the power of Web services," said Christopher Payne, vice president of .NET My Services at Microsoft. "In addition to providing convenience for consumers, .NET Alerts also will jump-start new ways for businesses to serve existing customers and attract new ones."
Companies that have signed on for the .NET Alerts launch include Bank One, eBay, McAfeeExpedia, Virgin Entertainment, and various MSN Web properties, including MSN Calendar, MSN Carpoint, and MSN Music. Subscribers to these alerts will receive little pop-up windows through MSN Messenger (or Windows Messenger in Windows XP), similar to the windows that appear now for email, online buddies, or chat notifications. An eBay customer, for example, can receive auction alerts on a minute-by-minute basis, if needed. And McAfee customers can stay up to date on that company's virus-scanning products. In addition to Messenger-based notifications, users can be alerted via cell phone or email. In the future, other types of alerts will be possible as well, including audio notifications.
Microsoft is quick to point out that these alerts will be user-configurable and that users must choose to install and use them; no unwanted alerts will appear. A software development kit (SDK)--due next month--will let any software developer create alerts. Microsoft plans to release .NET Alerts sometime this week.