Microsoft has launched a public beta of its YouTube-rivalling MSN Soapbox video sharing site.

Although originally unveiled last September, MSN Soapbox has only been available to invited beta testers.

Now users can browse and watch whatever they want.

Soapbox lets users upload video to share, as well as tag them so that others can find them easily. Unlike YouTube, the site lets users watch videos on one side of the screen, and browse and search videos on the other half.

The user interface is more streamlined and simple than YouTube.

Although Microsoft has been slowly replacing the name of many of its online services with Live rather than MSN, Soapbox falls in the MSN category, possibly because the Live name usually precedes services, like email, IM and search.

Analysts believe that eventually all of Microsoft's online services will be branded Live rather than MSN.