Microsoft is targeting the Internet generation with a new product called Three Degrees. Newsweek has the full story. The product is a powerful extension of instant messaging with the ability to create ad-hoc personal communities. Once you establish these groups, there are a variety of tasks that can be shared including pictures, listening to shared playlists and the ability to send animated winks to other users.
I think there are some very broad implications to this product but it has some limitations. First, it only runs on Windows XP with Service Pack 1. That alone greatly limits the size of who you can establish communities with. Microsoft needs to take this to at least Windows 98 (and Mac OS) if it wants to get to critical mass. Second, the program is a bit too oriented to a 13-24 demographic. GenNet (as Microsoft likes to call it) is a behavioral demographic not just an age demographic, the UI needs to be tweaked for a slightly more mature audience that might very well grok the features but be turned off by candy colored interface that tries a little too hard to look like its cool. That applies even toward the target audience, remember the only thing worse than being someone whos not cool is being someone whos not cool and trying to act like you are.
Anil had initially pointed this out yesterday as well:
threedegrees is microsoft’s upcoming IM effort
aimed at a teenage and early 20’s market, with features like file sharing, this should be interesting
We’ll see what it is soon enough. I registered last night… see how quickly this thing happens.