Messenger across the web

Messenger across the web

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See update at end of post.

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 the past, 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’s identity 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, ActivityStrea.ms, PortableContacts, OData) 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 not only from 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:

Contoso_Messenger_Connect

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

Update: I got some questions about OData and we forgot to mention in the original post (doh!)… our RESTful endpoints will also support OData (www.odata.org).  We’ll share more info as we roll out the bits.

19 Comments
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  • Herb
    1 Posts

    You guys need to get redirect the messengersays.spaces.live.com site to here.  Its the site that clicking the Help|blog link in WLM sends you too but its content is dated and the comment sections are all full of spam.

  • @bkraft4637 -- thanks for reaching out, we'll follow up offline.

  • Hi Everyone,

    I am a developer for Ping.fm and we have many requests to add live messenger status capability to our website.  I have found it extremely hard to find a way to do this.

    We basically need a way for a user to enter their WLM credentials (or oauth verification) on our site and allow us to update their status at any time without them having to visit our site again.  

    We currently have this process working for about 40 social networks, including AIM and GTalk.  The service is free if anyone wants an example of the expected functionality.

    Thanks in advance!

    Adam (pingfmsupport@gmail.com)

  • I've been hearing some questions about OData, and I forgot to mention this in my original post: our RESTful endpoints will also support OData (www.odata.org). I've added an update to the post, and we’ll share more info as we roll out the bits.

  • Hey Jamie,

    We are aiming to support the latest, most expected, popular, emerging & well established standards/specifications (e.g. OAuth WRAP, ActivityStrea.ms, Portable Contacts)  - happy devs make me happy. Re. Open ID specifically - we are closely involved with the Open ID community and are actively helping to build Open ID v.Next – see some of the things we learnt about implementing Open ID over here winliveid.spaces.live.com/.../cns!AEE1BB0D86E23AAC!1791.entry

    Hey Ravit,

    Across the company we are investing in CardSpace (I’m constantly chatting with that team), and you are right, it is a really neat way to prevent phishing. The link you had in your comment was part of a prior CardSpace beta implementation we were running (in addition to standard WLID email/password credential pairs) and we haven’t surfaced it in the latest version of the sign in experience. Watch this space as we are always trying to make the sign in experience better.

    thx

  • Yeah I had the same question as pradeepviswav... I'd really like to know how we can log in to hotmailpreview.com! I've been hearing about it on various tech websites [liveside, mainly] but I want to know how to log in!

  • When i go to hotmailpreview.com,it asks for VIP login for reviewer's guide..How to get one?

  • 7flavor - re. XP support - see Chris Jones' comment at April 21, 2010 at 12:28PM over on this post -- windowsteamblog.com/.../getting-ready-for-windows-live-wave-4.aspx

  • Chris - you can't take vacation. The tech industry moves too fast and you'll be behind forever :) - and to answer your question - No. the new version of Messenger isn't available yet.

    Chris / Mansoor - to borrow from Jeff & Piero's post: "As Chris announced earlier, we’ll be releasing this to a limited number of individuals externally in the very near future, before expanding to a broader public beta, and finally to the full public release.".

    thx

  • Alimaggs - (re. MSN/Zune)

    Thanks for the feedback, and of course we are excited to keep partnering well with the other Microsoft services as well as 3rd parties across the web.   While “Messenger Connect” per se isn’t released yet, both MSN/Xbox/Bing already use Windows LiveID for their identity and permissioning, the new MSN home page (link) in many markets around the world showcases a module where you can view your Windows Live social feed, and there are Messenger applications on many smart and feature phone platforms around the world, including Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.5 –and some of the new features are integrated into the new Windows Phone 7 -- on stage at The Next Web I showed the social updates from my Messenger friends and other friends on a real device :)

    thx

  • nice job ! i love it..

  • Good news and interesting for social distribution.

    "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, ActivityStrea.ms, PortableContacts) and adds a number of new scenarios." Does it mean that Windows Live ID is now ready to support OpenID? As Jamiet said we are waiting for a long time.

  • I have been on vacation, I think I may be missing something. Is the new messenger out yet?

  • orand
    1 Posts

    Congrats, Ori and team!  I love what this implies for where the underlying platform is going. :-)  I can't wait for you to _really_ pop out from under the radar.

  • I think that Windows Live Messenger is the best IM available.

    One thing that I just want to ask the Windows Live Developers that how can I enable the Windows CardSpace Login ??

    I think that this is the best way to login where hackers are always there to hack into your account. I recently came across the link login.live.com/.../managecards.srf

    This link allowed me to register my CardSpace but now I cannot figure out how to use this card for login purpose instead of entering password at the Login screen ??

    Hope you are listening ... !

  • Alimaggs
    22 Posts

    Good stuff.  I find it weird that this sort of functionality isn't already live on Microsoft property sites (I'm thinking MSN, Xbox, Zune, etc)...  Hope this arrives there eventually.

  • 7flavor
    352 Posts

    XP support please I reiterate. Don't abandon your customers from the latest and greatest.

  • Please mention the date, i am dying to use the newer version! I hope it would be awesome, as i have seen some leaked screenshots

  • jamiet
    45 Posts

    Hi Ori,

    Does OpenId fit into this anywhere? We've been waiting for a long time for LiveId to be an OpenId provider.

    -Jamie