Microsoft has released the beta of its latest social-networking website Vine.

Currently only available in the US, Vine apparently "connects you to the people and places you care about most, when it matters."

Straight off the Vine

Essentially Vine has been created to bond friends and family to their local area, so that if an emergency happens, alerts can be sent out to the relevant people to let them know the situation.

Microsoft is being a tad vague about the new service, but has handily posted some videos showing how Vine can help you.

One is about a guy stuck in a snow drift, the other is a woman whose grandmother is ill. Both people use the wonders of Vine, shown in a rather twee 'we've watched Juno far too many times way' to let friends and family know just what is going on.

A bit like when, in the olden days, you would pick up a phone and speak to people.

Receive alerts

On the website, it says you can: "Organise people into groups – the sports team you coach, people who live nearby, family far away, special friends, and emergency contacts.

"Each person defines how they want to receive alerts – through email, a text message, or on their computer. Reach them quickly using alerts."

As the service is currently unavailable in the UK, we haven't tested Vine out. But we are sure right now there are some people in the US downloading it to keep track of which neighbours have gone to Mexico and contracted a bout of 'pig sniffles'.