Microsoft Vine Giving Twitter & Facebook Commercial Purpose?

-Microsoft Vine Icon-Is Microsoft’s latest product, Vine, the answer to solving the issue of practical status update applications? The new social web application from Microsoft was revealed today during a beta test in Seattle, offering hyperlocal and personalized information for users and groups.

On your computer screen Vine acts as a dashboard that you can use to keep up with other members in your community, whether they’re family members, office or team members, or your best buds. The application itself comes in the form of a map, where your contacts will appear via their location, along with their updated status. You can send alerts or reports, which can be sent and received either through the Vine web application or through SMS on your mobile phone.

So everyone is wondering if Vine is a Facebook or Twitter competitor. At this stage in the game, I think the real question is whether or not Vine integrates with these two services, both of which are the prominent services used to update one’s status. While Facebook integration has already been included, Twitter integration won’t be added until later.

But is this a way for Microsoft to compete with Twitter and Facebook? Microsoft is an investor in Facebook so partnering up with the social network makes sense for Vine. This is an interesting way in which Microsoft is delving back into the social networking realm. For the time being, Microsoft is pushing Vine as a tool for emergencies, mainly to be used by families and already established, organized groups (i.e. emergency services on a school campus, etc.).

This vantage point makes a lot of sense for a company like Microsoft, given its demographic and the general feelings towards geo-data being shared with others. The commercial use for Vine may have a higher potential than if it were being promoted as merely a social networking tool, as consumers tend to be more willing to give up the particulars of their location-based data when it’s for safety purposes.

Given some of Vine’s other features, which enable you to pull news stories and other events related to their community, Microsoft could very well have found a way in which to practically integrate social networking status updates into a very commercial product. Status updates act as easy and mobile ways in which to take data outside of a social network, and placing context around those status updates is a necessary step to taking social networking and microblogging to the next level.

Aside from creating context for the world of status updates, I also think that Microsoft Vine has potential due to some of Microsoft’s other products, including Silverlight, SharePoint (for business networking) and even Microsoft’s mobile platform. What do you think; is Vine the answer to giving microblogging commercial purpose, or is this another Microsoft flop?