Messenger extensibility – a great companion to the other services you love

Messenger extensibility – a great companion to the other services you love

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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.

Windows Live Messenger Web Tookit

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

Antena3.com website using Messenger Web Toolkit

Photobucket.com website using Messenger Web Toolkit

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.

 

Bringing your contacts to Messenger from another service

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.

Finding friends from Windows Live on Linked in

Finding friends from Windows Live on Linked in (2)

 

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.

What's new feed in MessengerWhat's new feed on Profile

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

10 Comments
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  • someone
    156 Posts

    I would really like to have the addins feature back in Messenger. Also in 8.5 I could transfer files when the recipient was signed in as offline but this no longer works in 2009/9.0. Please allow this in 2010. ALSO, the ability to adjust webcam and microphone settings during a video call. Please pls fix these in 2010.

  • kio_http
    26 Posts

    @Jeff I like the wordpress is a partner part.

    Why are you getting familiar with all the OpenSource projects you find interest in.

    E.g Apache Everyone knows its good and MS decides to "help out".

  • kio_http
    26 Posts

    @ MS

    Other messenger applications using Windows live,yahoo and other protocols already have this functionality.

    Also I guess this offer is not for Win Xp users, just like IE8, liv wave 4 and perhaps most of the future apps. Why is it that whenever an new version of windows comes out we hear "Making a security update would mean major change to the OS causing application incompatible." In the prime time of the OS such statements never appear.

    Some of us feel that we wasted money on multiple copies of windows 7. Agreed Windows 7 might not make a company bankrupt but it is a waste of money.

  • @Jeff: Yes, do comment on this, I would definitely need to embed this in my WordPress blog!

  • @everyone -- thanks for the comments and interest and feature suggestions, we're excited about what we've been able to do here already, and as I said you can be sure we're working hard on more.

    @Mansoor -- i'm not 100% sure about what you can do with embedding Messenger Web Toolkit into Wordpress (a great Web Activities partner of ours :) ), I'd bet it's different whether you're using wordpress.com or hosting your own Wordpress site.  i'll ask someone from the team to comment on this one.

  • Thank you

  • WillC
    1 Posts

    That's great but are you planning on adding an API to Sky Drive?

  • Despite of the three new additions you mentioned, I just loved one feature which is embed the messenger into your website, here I go to embed it in my site. I have a question, Can I embed messenger to my blog, powered by Wordpress?

  • Hmm. Just wish that Live Messenger toolbar was embedded on every page of the Windows Live site! We could all chat to each other about our Spaces content, our Photos  and in any Groups we were part of!

  • All that sounds pretty cool! Messenger sure has come a long way!! the only thing you guys have to fix is this Virus scanner thing. We recently stopped using OneCare at work and switched over to Security Essentials. Well that was fine and all, well when we went to transfer our first file, a 'OneCare Security Scanner' had to be installed..weird I thought, we just uninstalled that. So now, randomly, almost 90% of the time, if we go to transfer a zip, excel or word document, this prompt comes up AND it looks like its installing it. I takes up to a good minute for this to be done and the file to finally transfer. This is really a hassle! but we're not running Windows 7, so I didn't make it ;-)