As many of our recent posts have talked about, at Windows Live we’re keenly aware of the staggering array of services that our 500+ million users love and use in addition to Windows Live. Whether it’s major social networks like Facebook, photo and video sharing services like YouTube or Flickr, or any of the tens of thousands of other interesting sites and apps that are evolving all the time, we know that one of the most important ways to keep Messenger vibrant is to make Messenger an outstanding companion to this rich ecosystem. In other words, we want to help you get more out of the services you love when you use them together with Windows Live.

We’ve had a long tradition in Messenger of extensibility and personalization, and you can be sure that this is an area we’re looking at expanding further as we move forward. In Messenger today, there’s already a fun array of extensibility points for partners to plug into, and for users to take advantage of, including:


  • Embedding Messenger in your website with the Web Messenger Toolkit lets users chat within the context of another site, so you can watch TV shows together or chat about restaurant reviews as you look at them together.
  • Contact import/export lets you easily pull in your contacts from major email and social sites around the world, to invite friends to Messenger, and vice versa to bring your Messenger contacts with you to the sites and services you choose.
  • Web activities and social feeds let users automatically share what they’re doing across the web with their Messenger friends
Embedding Messenger in your website

While hundreds of millions of Messenger users keep the Messenger client running on their desktop in the background most or all of the time, they’re also (of course) spending lots of time on other sites and services across the web.

More and more websites are integrating social features from services like Facebook, allowing their users to share their content with friends, contextually discover how their friends are using that site, etc. But when you’re sharing an interesting video, restaurant review, news, or other web content, that's often exactly when you want to start chatting with a friend.

With the Messenger Web Toolkit, site developers can easily enable just that—embedding real-time user presence and instant messaging capability into their site. With it, users can IM with one another from their website and share Messenger status messages that their friends will see in Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail, etc.

Site developers can integrate with the Windows Live Messenger Web Toolkit in three easy ways, using our simple interactive SDK with code samples, etc. You can (1) use a simple and completely skinnable Web Bar control, (2) assemble your own combination of 16 modular UI Controls, or (3) build a unique experience from the ground up using the Windows Live Messenger Library.

The SDK has many cool code samples in multiple languages (C#, VB.NET, PHP, Ruby, Java, Python and Perl) that make it simple to integrate the Windows Live Messenger Web Toolkit. So, no matter what your style, you’ve got the help you need to kick start your development and get these new capabilities on your website in a snap.





Two fun examples of sites using the Messenger Web Toolkit are Antena3.com in Spain, and Photobucket visual search:







Contact import and export

When you join a site that has social features, the first thing you usually want to do is see if your friends are there, or invite them to join you. Most of us have friends spread across a few different web services. Re-entering their email addresses into each website is probably not how you want to spend your time.

Fortunately, you can easily bring your contacts into Messenger and other Windows Live services from Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Gmail, AOL, Hyves, and more.

 



For partners who want to let their users bring their Messenger contacts into their site, an open, RESTful set of APIs and an interactive SDK are available.





 



Web activities and social feeds

And finally, as we’ve talked about in other posts, we have an extensive and growing partner program, where users can choose to automatically share what they’re doing on 75 partner sites from around the world.

As part of this program, we support and are co-authors of the activitystrea.ms standard for activity feed ingestion.



Wrapping up

We hope that whether you’re a user, a partner/developer, or both, you’re already using many of our extensibility features. And you can be sure that we’re working hard on more ways to make Messenger the best companion to the other services you love.

Jeff Kunins
Group Program Manager, Windows Live social networking


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