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Microsoft debuts Vine in Seattle: Twitter+Facebook on steroids

By Brier Dudley

It's been awhile since Microsoft introduced a game-changing social Web application, but Vine -- a service that's debuting today with a beta test in Seattle -- could be a contender.

Vine is a hyperlocal, personalized message and alert system. It's intended to be a dashboard that people can use to keep tabs of their family, friends, activities and major events in their community.

The dashboard -- which appears as a widget on a PC screen -- displays a map of the user's community and the status of their contacts. It also has buttons to send alerts or reports, which can be sent and received on the PC or as text messages on a cellphone.

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