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Windows 7: Messenger across the web

29 Apr 2010   #1

Messenger across the web

As Jeff and Piero mentioned yesterday, the newest version of Messenger (beta coming soon) is designed to be the most meaningful way to stay in touch with the people who matter most, keeping you connected with your friends and what they’re doing across the web. We have made it possible for people to quickly see what their friends are doing on social sites like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. But of course, people love shopping, they love watching videos and viewing photos, and they love finding great local places to eat, relax, and spend time with others. So while the big social networks are important, there are tons of other experiences that customers want to stay up to date with.

Earlier today, John Richards and Angus Logan took the stage at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam where they announced Messenger Connect – a new way for partners and developers to connect with Messenger. Messenger Connect allows web, Windows and mobile app developers to create compelling social experiences on their websites and apps by providing them with social promotion and distribution via Messenger.

As we thought about how we designed Messenger Connect, we looked a great deal at what was happening in the industry and where our partners and developers were looking for us to add value and provide opportunities for them to enhance the experiences they are building. A few key themes emerged:

  • Connecting into existing friend relationships is very valuable: In thepast, many developers wanted to build up their store for user identities, profile information and social graphs. But over the last few years, it has become increasingly clear to many developers that taking advantage of the existing relationships and communications within the large online networks is more valuable than trying to create their own walled garden
  • Emerging industry standards for social data are easing development: Whether it’sidentity and authentication or it’s how contacts and updates are shared between sites, the emergence of industry standards is making it much more efficient for different developers to allow their customers to connect with each other
  • Simple and flexible controls are key for developers: Bringing in social data must feel natural to the developer’s experience. At the same time, developers have busy lives and competing priorities. So social objects have started to become much more easy to embed “as-is” with little required customization – often just pasting a few lines of script. But when you want to customize, it’s important that the developer has the ability to go deeper and really tailor the experience
Messenger Connect

Messenger Connect brings the individual APIs we’ve had for a long time (Windows Live ID, Contacts API, Messenger Web Toolkit, etc.) together in a single API that's based on industry standards and specifications (OAuth WRAP,, PortableContacts) and adds a number of new scenarios.

The new Messenger Connect provides our developer partners with three big things:

  • Instantly create a user profile and social graph: Messenger user profile and social graph information allows our shared customers to easily sign-in and access their friends list and profile information. This allows our partners to more rapidly personalize their experiences, provides a ready-made social graph for customers to interact with, and provides a channel to easily invite additional friends to join in.
  • Drive engagement directly through chat indirectly through social distribution: By enabling both real-time instant messaging conversations (chat) and feed-based sharing options for customers on their site, developers can drive additional engagement and usage of their experiences by connecting to the over 320 million Messenger customers worldwide.
  • Designing for easy integration in your technical environment: We are delivering an API service that will expose a RESTful interface, and we’ll wrap those in a range of libraries (including JavaScript, .NET, and others). Websites and apps will be able to choose the right integration type for their specific scenario. Some websites prefer to keep everything at the presentation tier, and use JavaScript libraries when the user is present. Others may prefer to do server-side integration, so they can call the RESTful endpoints from back-end processes. We're aiming to provide the same set of capabilities across the API service and the libraries that we offer.
Keeping consumers connected

For consumers, this begins with letting you stay in touch from not only our Messenger experiences but also from the sites that our partners are building. Critical to this endeavor is that we do this in a manner that you own and control. So as we do this, we strongly believe that users own their data and should be able to share or access it from the websites and applications they want to. And we believe that the privacy of a customers’ data is a critical element of a secure web and the customer should be in control. So we've built Messenger Connect with security and privacy as foundational elements. Websites cannot access any of a user’s non-public information from Windows Live without prior consent from the customer through an experience that could look like the image shown here:

And, equally important, a user can remove the permissions they have granted to websites and applications at any time.

Coming soon to a site or app near you

As Chris mentioned earlier, we’re in the process of broadening the distribution of our new experiences. Messenger Connect is currently being opened to a small number of leading companies that are helping to provide us with feedback and final revisions. You can look for more news about our new developer portal opening up more broadly in the coming months.

Ori Amiga

Principal Program Manager
Partner program for Windows Live


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 Messenger across the web

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