A new online video sharing that allows users to upload and share their own videos or watch and view original video clips made by other contributors has been launched by Microsoft, and named Soapbox on MSN Video, which currently in beta. Soapbox on MSN Video will features similar functionality with other video sharing or video searching site such as YouTube, Google Video, iFilm and GoFish. An invite is needed to join the Soapbox on MSN Video, and interested users can sign up and request for an invitation of Soapbox on MSN Video from soapbox.msn.com. Or you can ask those already registered in the Soapbox to invite you to join the Soapbox as a friends to try it.

Soapbox on MSN Video

Among the features of Soapbox on MSN Video include, of course, ability to upload your own videos, search and watch video clips made by other contributors, post comments about the video clips, identify videos with tags, recommend videos to friends, view information about a video’s creator, ability to control who sees your video contents by using same controls that manage contacts in Windows Live Messenger to limit viewing of their videos to certain friends and family, rate a video, browse through the 15 categories to find related videos, subscribe to RSS feeds, embed Soapbox player on blogs or websites and etc. Most of the tasks can be done without interrupting viewing of videos. One unique feature on Soapbox on MSN Video is ability to watch a video simultaneously with a friend via instant messaging.

Soapbox on MSN Video users can upload more than one video simultaneously. Soapbox supports unlimited video uploads, and up to 100 megabytes limit on each video, in various formats including Apple’s QuickTime. Video search is made easy by using tagging on video contents, and Microsoft is also tagging other MSN Video (which features professional video contents) contents to help people find both professionally and user-produced videos on a specific subject.

Soapbox on MSN Video can be accessed through Internet Explorer 6 or Firefox 1.0.5 or later version of them, running on either the Windows XP or Macintosh OS X operating system. If you use IE to watch videos on Soapbox, the player will be Windows Media Player, or for FireFox, it will stream videos by using Adobe Flash Video format. Microsoft also claimed that videos on Soapbox on MSN Video are encoded at a faster rate than competitive services, resulting in a larger viewing window plus clearer view and a more pleasant experience.

Update: Soapbox on MSN Video service has been discontinued.