Microsoft adds more Web 2.0 features to Windows Live

More social networking services added to compete with Google

Microsoft Corp. today released a new wave of Windows Live services, adding more social-networking qualities to its set of online services.

The company last month unveiled a plan to add Facebook-like qualities to its set of online services, which include e-mail, calendaring, instant-messaging, photo-storage and sharing and collaboration services, among others. At the time, the company said the new services would be available to users before the end of the year.

Microsoft first revealed the Windows Live brand for its online services, along with a plan for a major overhaul and new services, in November 2005. The services are designed to position Microsoft to be more competitive with Google Inc. by making Windows Live the entry point to the Web for users and ultimately allow Microsoft to sell more online advertising.

The new version of Windows Live services lets users have designated "friends" who can see what they're doing in other Web applications through Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger and other Live applications and services. The capabilities will be similar to the way Facebook allows users to be notified via e-mail or on its Web site about what their friends have been doing in the applications they use on Facebook, a feature called the "news feed."

To provide the new "activities" feature, Microsoft has partnered with popular third-party Web sites that will link their applications with Windows Live. The partners include Flickr, iLike, LinkedIn, Yelp, Flixster, Pandora, Twitter, Photobucket and Tripit.

In addition to updates to services such as Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Spaces, today's release includes several new services.

They include Windows Live Groups, a service for letting teams, clubs or other groups of people collaborate and engage in online discussions; Windows Live Photos, a new photo-storage and sharing service; Windows Live Profile, a way for people to share information about themselves with more than 50 partner sites; and Windows Live People, which allows users to store and manage Windows Live contacts.

Users can access the new services now.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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