Windows Live seeks to make social networking easier

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Windows Live seeks to make social networking easier

Microsoft is allowing its Windows Live customers to consolidate their contact lists across different websites with the release of Windows Live Contacts API.

When featured on a website, Windows Live Contacts API allows the 400 million Windows Live customers to integrate their contacts, including their Hotmail, Messenger, and Mobile contacts, with the specific site.

“We thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could use [Window Messenger] on different websites?’” said Angus Logan, senior technical product manager for Microsoft

“When I sign into Facebook, for example, why do I need to manually re-enter all of my friends from Messenger or Hotmail?"

“So we thought there are so many people using Windows Live, so let’s basically create a way for Windows Live to become a hub or make it easier for people to take their Windows Live data and use it all throughout the Internet.”

“My team’s mission in life is, instead of Microsoft just dealing with the consumer, we want other people to be able to do the dealing as well.”

Microsoft has already made deals with Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, Tagged and LinkedIn that will allow Windows Live users to invite friends from those sites and vice versa.

Users can also chat with friends on sites that are not normally considered as social networking sites, if the site carries API.

Logan said the API is not the first program to link users’ contacts lists across different platforms, but Microsoft has made huge steps to make it one of the safest.

“Lots and lots of websites were already taking this information. They were already saying, ‘Hey, why don’t you invite your friends from Gmail or Hotmail?’ But the way they were doing that was very dangerous,” he said.

“They were basically asking people for their user names and passwords, and then they were illegitimately accessing the services... they were either manually sucking the data off the screen, or accessing programmatic endpoints that they weren’t allowed to be accessing.”

“So we’ve tried to put users at the centre of their online experience and keep them in control of their information. So to the layperson, they may not be noticing a lot of change in terms of contacts specifically, until they find out ‘Hey, my account hasn’t been hacked!’”

This means that, with Windows Live API, users still have to confirm their relationship with contacts on each specific new site.

In the future, as social networking grows even more and becomes a bigger part of everyday life, Logan thinks users need to expect more from their online experience.

“Really, people need to start to demand more of the social networks,” he said.

“They need to know what’s possible. For example, when I upload a photo to Facebook, why do I need to re-upload that photo to MySpace? Why doesn’t it automatically pull that across?”

“I think really, we need just general consumers to ask for more.”
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