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Nov 13, 2008

Sweeping Changes At Microsoft Live.com: It’s A Social Network like Facebook, Myspace!

Microsoft Releases Major Update to Windows Live: New Applications and Third-Party Integration

live_services_logo_nov08.pngMicrosoft just announced the availability of a number of new and updated online applications in itsWindows Live suite: Windows Live Photos, Profiles, People, and Groups. In addition, Microsoft also announced that it will allow its users to integrate content from a large number third-party services, including Flickr, LinkedIn, Pandora, Photobucket, StumbleUpon, TripIt, Twitter, and Yelp. Microsoft will begin rolling out these new services to U.S. customers in the coming weeks and expects them to be available globally in 54 countries by early 2009.

New Services

live_photos_small_nov08.jpgWindows Live Photos: This is one of the most interesting new applications, and we will publish a more in-depth review of it a little bit later tonight. Basically, this is Microsoft's answer to Yahoo's Flickr and Google's Picasa Web Albums.

Live Photos allows you to share your pictures with granular privacy controls, and thanks to the "What's New" feed, the new Live Photos service will also allow you to monitor the photos of your friends on Windows Live.

Windows Live Profiles: The new Live Profile aggregates and displays your activity on Windows Live and third-party services. Somewhat similar to FriendFeed, users can choose to aggregate their activities on other services like Yelp or Twitter on this profile page as well. In the next few months, Microsoft will also integrate a large number of other third-party services, including LiveJournal, Digg, Last.fm, iLike, Seesmic, and SlideShare...

Sweeping Changes At Live.com: It’s A Social Network!

Microsoft’s Live.com portal will change significantly this evening. No longer will it be a simple search engine with a few other services bolted on. It’s now a social network, too, pulling in activity information and content from around the web. They’re also launching Windows Live Photos and Windows Live People, and other services. Check it out at Home.Live.com.

A lot of what they’ve done is exactly what Yahoo has been talking about for over a year now - leveraging social connections that already exist (Yahoo is using email, Microsoft is using Messenger) and doing a lot more with it.

Users are automatically connected with any friends they have on Windows Live Messenger, which is by far the most popular instant messaging service worldwide (Comscore: Microsoft Messenger has 268 million worldwide users, compared to 116 million for Yahoo and 6 million for Google Talk).

Users are asked to build out their profile, and can also bring in content they create on blogs (or any RSS feeds, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pandora, Photobucket, iLike, Twitter, Wordpress and Yelp. When you do something new on those sites, the information flows into Live.com for your friends to see (in a very similar way as FriendFeed, Plaxo and others do today). Eventually, says Microsoft, more than 50 partners will be supported. When users add photos, write reviews, and update their profiles directly on Live.com, that content will be put into the activity stream as well.

The hope, of course, is to get people to hang out a lot more at Live.com. At least those people who use Messenger, since they already have their contacts established. Like Yahoo, Microsoft is going with its strengths, which in their case is instant messaging.

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