San Francisco based SixApart, which owns the Typepad, MovableType and LiveJournal blogging platforms, will start letting users test their new Vox (formerly Comet) hosted blogging platform on Thursday, June 1. Initially a few thousand people will be let in, and they will ramp up from there.
Vox is half a blogging platform for newbies (albeit with rich and deep functionality) and half social network. The “new post” functionality is WYSIWYG and allows very easy uploading of images, audio and video, as well as book information (for reviews) from Amazon. Privacy settings can be set for each post, as well as descriptive tags.
There is an obvious focus on social networking. A friends list, called “neighborhood” is prominently displayed on each page (see screen shots below). If you want to add any person on the list as a friend, simply hover over their picture and a number of options pop up.
Vox is not a platform at this point for hard core bloggers who want complete control over the look and feel of the site. But it combines a great interface with the type of functionality most people really want – integration with Flickr and YouTube, easy book reviews, etc. This is aimed squarely at MSN Spaces and AIM Pages.
Vox will be free and advertising supported.
More screenshots here.