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Zune Social to take on Facebook

Alongside the new Microsoft Zune digital music players announced overnight, Microsoft also unveiled the new Zune Social online music community.

Zune Social, still in beta stage, makes it possible to hook up with people who share your taste in music. It allows you to share music, knowledge and experiences with fellow users.

Microsoft Zune Cards

You can also create your own Microsoft Zune Cards, web widgets that let others track what you've been listening to recently, and sample music straight from the card. The track lists will be updated each time you sync with your host computer.

The launch of Microsoft's Zune Social networking site is somewhat ironic. Its chief executive Steve Ballmer commented earlier this week that social networking sites such as Facebook have "a faddish nature about them".

Microsoft has also beefed up and redesigned its Zune Marketplace online music store, which now features one million DRM-free MP3 files, alongside two million WMA protected tracks. The tracks can be played both on the various Microsoft Zune models and other devices. The Zune Marketplace store will also feature podcasts and music videos.