Messenger Companion – Have conversations with your friends directly in Internet Explorer

Messenger Companion – Have conversations with your friends directly in Internet Explorer

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In this release of Windows Live, you can now see your friends’ activity in all the social networks you use. Last week, for example, Douglas Pearce blogged about what this means for the new Messenger. He discussed how Messenger Highlights is designed to be the most complete view of what your friends are doing across the web. Messenger Companion is an exciting extension of that effort. Messenger Companion is a browser plugin which lets you quickly share and discover what your friends have shared online. It lets you view the links your friends are sharing, comment on them, and even share something fun you’ve come across. And if you’ve connected your social networks to Windows Live, Messenger Companion works across all of them.

Discovering what your friends have shared

We want to make it easy for you to discover what your friends are sharing online, so if you have your Windows Live ID connected to your social networks, it doesn’t matter where a friend shares information. When you visit a website, Messenger Companion will let you know if your friends have shared any new links on that site by subtly flashing in the top right corner of your browser window. Here’s how it works. Let’s say one of your friends shares a link on YouTube (this share could have happened on any social network connected to Messenger, such as Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn). When you go to youtube.com, you’ll see a notification from Messenger Companion that lets you know what your friends have shared on the site since the last time you were on YouTube.

Shared link

 

If you want to check out all the recent links shared on a site, all you need to do is use the Messenger Companion button in Internet Explorer.

Messenger Companion button in IE

 

This will open up Messenger Companion and show you all the links recently shared by your friends in any of your connected social networks.

All shared links


Joining in the conversation

Shared links can spark an interesting conversation where friends join in to comment and give their two cents. Messenger Companion shows you the conversation about a shared link, while letting you view the link and comment back.

We don’t want you to worry about where the activity is happening, so sharing is seamlessly integrated into your Windows Live experience. When you join in a conversation, your comment gets posted back to the social network your friend used to share the link. You can see how this works in the two screenshots below. First, you’re on youtube.com and you comment on your friend’s link in Messenger Companion.

Comment on a link

 

When you finish typing your comment and click Add, your comment publishes to Facebook because that’s the social network your friend used to share the link.

Comment posts to facebook

 

Sharing with your friends

The story wouldn’t be complete if there was no way for you to share interesting things you come across online. Not only can you use Messenger Companion to share with your friends, but Messenger Companion provides one-click sharing!

One click sharing

When you a share a link through Messenger Companion, it will update your status in Messenger, and all your friends in Messenger will get an update from you about the link you shared.

Updated status in Messenger

If you’ve connected your social networks to Windows Live, this shared link will also get posted to your profile on your social networks, so that friends on those networks can also see your link and comment back.

Updated status in your social network

Messenger Companion is available to anyone using Internet Explorer 7 or Internet Explorer 8. You can get it now by installing the Windows Live Essentials beta. We hope you enjoy sharing with your friends using Messenger Companion. We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

11 Comments
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  • I have tried about 50 times to get the BETA to install on my Windows 7 laptop but always get errors and the help provided when I click on the rrror code link is useless.  I am so disappointed in Microsoft and Windows Live right now.

  • jamiet
    45 Posts

    Shazaan,

    Thank you, I see it now. The problem was that I wasn't actually clicking on the link and the blog post above does not say that one has to click the link in order to comment on it - if fact its decidedly ambiguous.

    You may think it is totally intuitive that you would have to cllick the link in order to comment on it - but not to me.

    Thanks for the replies.

    -Jamie

  • @qiziq

    You should have a button present in Internet Explorer with the Messenger icon.  Clicking on this icon will open up Messenger Companion.  Alternatively you can press "Ctrl + Shift + C" in Internet Explorer to open up Messenger Companion.

    You can find more information here: explore.live.com/windows-live-messenger-companion-messenger-companion-what-faq

    There is also a forum thread about this here: windowslivehelp.com/thread.aspx

  • @jamiet

    You should have the ability to comment on links that your friends have shared with you.  After you click on a link from Messenger Companion, the page should navigate to the link your friend shared and then you should have the ability to comment directly from Messenger Companion.  If you are still having problems, you can create a forum question on the Windows Live Forums and we can help troubleshoot : windowslivehelp.com/forums.aspx

  • qiziq
    23 Posts

    Brandon. I too have twice had the Companion window pop up on a site for the briefiest second just to disappear.  I have checked IE8 Add-ons management and verified that Messenger Companion is indeed enabled, but have not been able to use the feature.  I am not a developer, but it seems like it might be nice to have a button on the Bing Bar that would also show friend's site activity.

  • Brandon, nay help at MS left for my question? ;)

  • jamiet
    45 Posts

    Brandon,

    Thanks for the reply. I can confirm, as I said before, that when I see a shared link from one of my friends then i do not have the ability to comment on it.

    I understand what its supposed to do - I am saying that it is not working that way for me.

    -jamie

  • @jamiet, someone may chime in from the Windows Live Team to elaborate but if you have friends who've used Messenger Companion or Windows Live to share links to the same site (URL) - you should see their comments etc. For example on The Windows Blog (windowsteamblog.com) several of my friends have shared links to Windows Live and they are showing up for me in Messenger Companion where I can comment etc. If you are on a site that none of your friends have shared anything from then there won't be anything to comment on or show up for you.

  • This is almost the same as sidewiki! Don't you guys _know_ that it was a bad idea :O

  • This is all great news, but I think you need to remember that many people now also use Firefox or a WebKit based browser, and creating add ons for these browsers would be a good idea. Its almost impossible to tell how good this add on will be without seeing how add ons are implemented in the UI of IE9 :P

    Whilst were on the Topic of IE, why cant you add a X-UA-Compatible meta tag in a conditional comment? It makes validating HTML5 hard when you have no access to change HTTP headers.

    Is there any help available?

    Thanks,

    Danny

  • jamiet
    45 Posts

    Am I missing something? I've got the beta installed and I don't see any way that I can leave a comment using web companion on a link that a friend has shared. Yes, I can share my own stuff - but I can't leave comments on others'.

    What gives?