Last week, Dharmesh discussed our focus on building great experiences for consumers as well as partnering deeply with other companies that create amazing services customers love to use. Today, we’re pleased to announce another of those great partnerships: LinkedIn. We love LinkedIn’s tag line, “Relationships Matter,” because at Windows Live, our goal is to create great experiences that keep you connected with the people who matter most.

With over 75 million members in over 200 countries and a new professional joining approximately every second, LinkedIn is clearly a leader in professional social networking that we’re excited to partner with. There are four key areas we’re focused on in our deep integration with LinkedIn:

  • Keeping your contact list organized with auto contact linking across Hotmail, Messenger and the rest of Windows Live.
  • Helping you use Messenger to keep up with what your LinkedIn contacts are doing.
  • Making it simple to share updates from Messenger to your LinkedIn contacts.
  • Helping your Messenger friends keep up with what you’re doing on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn contacts

With nearly 50% of users actively using 2 or more social networks, linking social networks together becomes a messy business for your contact list if not handled with care. Your contact list can become easily flooded with duplicate records for the same person from the contact details you already have, their Facebook or MySpace friend details, and now their professional contact information from LinkedIn.

We recognize how tedious it is to manually clean up duplicate contacts in your contact list, but it’s important that you have easy access to the right contact information for the right situation. For example, when you send a work-related email, you may use a different email address than when you send a personal note to the same person.

When you make the LinkedIn connection with Windows Live, your LinkedIn contacts are automatically linked to the same contact you already have stored in Windows Live, so that you have one record with the combined set of information. Now you can compose and send email to your LinkedIn contacts right from Hotmail.

Here’s an example. My friend Omar and I use Messenger together, we’re Facebook friends, and we’re LinkedIn contacts too:

Having your LinkedIn contacts connected to Windows Live doesn’t end with just email, however. Your LinkedIn contacts are available to you across Windows Live, including in Photo Gallery. You probably wouldn’t think to associate photos with your LinkedIn activities, but with people tagging in Photo Gallery, for example, you could tag a photo of someone you saw at a conference, because it’s always helpful to put a face to a name:

Use Messenger to see what your LinkedIn contacts are doing

When you’ve connected LinkedIn with Messenger, news from your colleagues will be added to your Messenger social updates. Just like with your existing Messenger, Facebook, and MySpace friends, you can choose to make any LinkedIn contact a favorite so their updates get prioritized in Messenger highlights.

Here’s an example:

…and of course, it works in the iPhone as well:

And, when you comment on social updates, your comments post right back to LinkedIn. This is consistent across the web and iPhone Messenger app as well, so you’re always connected, even while on the go.

Update your status across your networks

We also make it easy for you to use Messenger and the rest of Windows Live to automatically show your LinkedIn contacts what you’re doing and sharing, even if they don’t use Windows Live. If you choose to have your Windows Live activities shared out to LinkedIn, then when you update your status in Messenger or Hotmail, or upload photos and documents that you’ve set permissions to Everyone or Friends for in SkyDrive, these updates are posted to LinkedIn:

Of course, just like with Facebook, MySpace, and other companies we partner with, you have complete control over which features you want to connect. Just select the features you want:

Let your Messenger friends see what you’re doing on LinkedIn

Finally, just like with our other 75+ feeds from partner sites, you can easily choose to have your LinkedIn activities (like status updates and job changes—always interesting information from LinkedIn contacts) shared with your Messenger friends, even if they don’t happen to use LinkedIn yet:

Starting today, you can connect Messenger and your Windows Live profile to LinkedIn. LinkedIn features in Hotmail will start to roll out today and over the course of the next 3 weeks worldwide, depending on where LinkedIn is available.

For more information, watch this video of Brandon Duncan from LinkedIn talking about the partnership with Windows Live and features of the integration.

We hope you’ll enjoy the new LinkedIn integration, and we look forward to continuing to partner with leading services across the internet.

Jeff Kunins
Group Program Manager, Windows Live