In this release of Windows Live, you can now see your friends’ activity in all the social networks you use. Last week, for example, Douglas Pearce blogged about what this means for the new Messenger. He discussed how Messenger Highlights
is designed to be the most complete view of what your friends are doing across the web. Messenger Companion is an exciting extension of that effort. Messenger Companion is a browser plugin which lets you quickly share and discover what your friends have shared online. It lets you view the links your friends are sharing, comment on them, and even share something fun you’ve come across. And if you’ve connected your social networks to Windows Live, Messenger Companion works across all of them.
Discovering what your friends have shared
We want to make it easy for you to discover what your friends are sharing online, so if you have your Windows Live ID connected to your social networks, it doesn’t matter where a friend shares information. When you visit a website, Messenger Companion will let you know if your friends have shared any new links on that site by subtly flashing in the top right corner of your browser window. Here’s how it works. Let’s say one of your friends shares a link on YouTube (this share could have happened on any social network connected to Messenger, such as Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn). When you go to youtube.com, you’ll see a notification from Messenger Companion that lets you know what your friends have shared on the site since the last time you were on YouTube.
If you want to check out all the recent links shared on a site, all you need to do is use the Messenger Companion button in Internet Explorer.
This will open up Messenger Companion and show you all the links recently shared by your friends in any of your connected social networks.
Joining in the conversation
Shared links can spark an interesting conversation where friends join in to comment and give their two cents. Messenger Companion shows you the conversation about a shared link, while letting you view the link and comment back.
We don’t want you to worry about where the activity is happening, so sharing is seamlessly integrated into your Windows Live experience. When you join in a conversation, your comment gets posted back to the social network your friend used to share the link. You can see how this works in the two screenshots below. First, you’re on youtube.com and you comment on your friend’s link in Messenger Companion.
When you finish typing your comment and click Add
, your comment publishes to Facebook because that’s the social network your friend used to share the link.
Sharing with your friends
The story wouldn’t be complete if there was no way for you to share interesting things you come across online. Not only can you use Messenger Companion to share with your friends, but Messenger Companion provides one-click sharing!
When you a share a link through Messenger Companion, it will update your status in Messenger, and all your friends in Messenger will get an update from you about the link you shared.
If you’ve connected your social networks to Windows Live, this shared link will also get posted to your profile on your social networks, so that friends on those networks can also see your link and comment back.
Messenger Companion is available to anyone using Internet Explorer 7 or Internet Explorer 8. You can get it now by installing the Windows Live Essentials
beta. We hope you enjoy sharing with your friends using Messenger Companion. We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.