Today, Microsoft released an update to the Zune.net service. Now, this is NOT the Marketplace, but the online only, browser experience. Two new features were introduced: Online podcast streaming and the Zune Quiz Builder.
The podcast streaming feature is pretty nice. You get a nice, Zuney and clean interface and, for now, over twelve thousand podcasts to choose from. The page also allows you to download the podcast or subscribe to it all from the Zune.net podcast page. Each episode is listed and you can click on the episode name to see the description/synopsis for the episode. If you click the play button, you can then listen to the podcast without having to download it. This is a pretty nice feature, especially if you do not have your Zune or if forget to sync your Zune and missed an episode, you come here to stream it without downloading it.
The Zune Quiz Builder is a bit more dubious in its usefulness. Months ago, the Zune community was asked to help with the design of a new Zune.net feature. Ideas were bandied about and the music quiz is the one everyone seemed to like. After two delayed starts, the quiz is finally here. Now, I have to admit that I have not yet tried this, but I did look at the quiz builder page. It, like the podcast page, is clean and simple. While I commend the Zune team for involving the ‘community’, but I’m not sure how much this feature will be used. I hope my instinct is wrong and this will prove to be a popular feature. I rather like the idea of Microsoft involving its customers like this.
Now, if they could just fix this log in problem many seem to have, the Zune lifestyle will be pretty OK.