It came as a bit of a surprise to me that Microsoft is working on a list creation program, much like the web 2.0 list apps we can see around the web. I took a quick look, but since it's only a tech preview, it's quite basic, and only has bare-bone features. This shouldn't be a huge problem, a lot of us are minimalists, and for simple task-managing it will work pretty well as is.
The interface is beautiful, simple lines, simple design all round. The text is a wonderfully ambient gray, bullet points are simply round dots, even menu graphics are refined and un-flashy. This is a big plus in my book, it looks great, while remaining subdued.
Creating a list and editing the entries is pretty much all the functionality right now, with clipping from the web as an added bonus. You can use bold text, linking, tagging and so on, but nothing like the advanced geotag features of Remember The Milk. There are some nice features though for ordering your lists, like indenting, collapsing all and showing all. While simple tools, these are really enough for creating an organized list.
There is also a community behind the whole project, as you would expect in a web 2.0 app. If you make a list viewable to the public, people can come and take a look, if the proper setting is applied they can even edit it. Hot lists will be featured in the community page for all to see as well, so Microsoft is trying to put a "social engine" behind it.
That's actually all there is to it right now. It's already a solid task manager and I await the release of new features, there will undoubtedly be some tie-ins to other Microsoft online apps, we'll have to see what happens. I'm optimistic, since I think Microsoft realized that the only way it can keep on competing if it can show its strength in free online stuff as well. Let's hope there will be huge competition, since we all profit from that.
Update: Listas has been retired and is no longer available.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.