Microsoft is phasing out its tried and trusted MSN brand for its new platform.

The latest service to move over to is Spaces, the company’s blogging and social networking site.

Live Spaces is now up and running; all MSN Spaces pages are now redirected to Live Spaces URLs instead.

MSN Spaces lets each user create a page or website from more than 100 themes, and lets them write blogs, upload photos into albums, and create lists.

These pages are uploaded not just to the web, but can also be viewed on mobile devices or used in email groups.

Two of the biggest new features are the addition of a Friends Module to add to the social networking aspect of the site and the new easy one-click addition of Gadgets, or widgets as they’re sometimes known.

The Friends Module lets users invite friends to appear on their pages, which brings in a messenger icon that can initiate an IM chat directly. One click links you to all your friends’ friends, so that you can expand your network quickly.

The Gadgets are little mini applications that can be added swiftly to a user’s page; there are hundreds to choose from, ranging from sudoku puzzles to zip code lookups, to spice up each mini site.

To sign up, visit

Windows Live Spaces