It was nice to see Microsoft’s experimental Start.com service finally pushed out to the masses today under the moniker of Windows Live. But we don’t fully understand why Start.com worked just fine with the Firefox browser (eventually) and the officially Microsoft-branded Live.com doesn’t, at least not yet. Conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this. Hopefully, it’s corrected soon.

Regardless, Windows Live will be interesting to watch. Especially interesting is how it allows developers to create custom “gadgets” that can be added to users’ personal Live pages. Originally announced back in September as part of Start.com, gadgets are mini-applications like widgets, but for the Web, instead of the desktop. (Note that Microsoft even “borrowed” the mechanical gear imagery that Konfabulator uses.) Users install the gadgets on their Live pages with just a few mouse-clicks. They potentially make the Live platform very extensible.

Also of note, the MSN brand seems on its last legs. Not a mention of it anywhere among the grab-bag of new Web services, except as a legacy instant messenging tool.