Today we launch the brand new Windows Live Shopping site!

What is it? It is the beta launch of Microsoft’s Web 2.0 shopping experience, featuring one of the world’s largest product catalogs, user-created content and an easier-to-use interface built on 100% AJAX technology. It uses a unified shopping engine to search or browse almost 40 million products from 7,000 stores ranging from many of the country’s leading retailers to eBay. Results are displayed in an order that is not affected by advertising; merchants cannot pay to have their items show up closer to the top. Users will be able to drag-and-drop items to a shopping list and share lists with friends; see user reviews of products and sellers; and read and create public shopping guides on any subject.

What features are we most excited about for this beta release? Oh my, there are many, but drag and drop, lists and guides are super cool in our book. Enhanced preview is another cool feature; allow users to get the details of an item without having to click to a details page. With guides, users can create shopping guides about any subject and link to any set of products in Windows Live Shopping, adding their own comments and insights. Users can rate other users’ guides for their helpfulness. Top-rated guides will be displayed in relevant contexts in Windows Live Shopping.

What is our vision? In the future, Windows Live Shopping will continue to offer the great comparison shopping services you see today, while also integrating more social and community features that will enable users to better research, share, and have fun with their shopping experiences. AJAX will allow us to execute against this vision with a rich user interface that is modularized to capitalize on the gadgets craze. This Beta offering is just the tip of the iceberg.

Come take a look around http://shopping.live.com/ and please let us know what you think. We would love to hear from you!