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April 28, 2009

An Overview of Recent Updates to Windows Live

Over the past few weeks, we’ve introduced quite a few improvements to Windows Live. I thought it would be nice to list all those improvements in a single blog post for everyone to read.

New web activities: 20 new third-party feed partners were added to Windows Live including Facebook, Digg, and SmugMug. MySpace will also be added in the coming months, so that MySpace customers can share activities and updates from MySpace to people in their Windows Live network.

Windows Live web activities

By adding new feed partners to Windows Live, it’s easier for you to connect your activities various blogging sites, social networks and photo sharing sites and share them with your friends in your Windows Live network. This update will make it easier for the 500 Million users who are active on Windows live today to connect their activities on these partner sites and share them with their friends on Windows Live.

Facebook web activity

For instance, when you add the Facebook web activity – any photo, video, note or status update you make on Facebook will now appear on Windows Live via your What’s New feed. When you add Digg, any article you “digg” or submit to Digg, will now appear on Windows Live via your What’s New feed. Since Windows Live is global, it’s interesting to note that fourteen of the 20 new feed partners are headquartered in countries outside of the United States. According to Comscore, Hyves is the top social network in the Netherlands, and Metroflog is a top social network in Argentina.

There are quite a few partner web activities you can add today! Check them out by going to your Windows Live Profile and choosing “Web activities” in the lower left-hand corner of your profile

Add new contacts to Windows Live: MySpace, hi5, and Tagged join Facebook and LinkedIn as contact partners on Windows Live. Now you can exchange contacts between Windows Live and these five social networks and vice versa.

Add contacts to Windows Live

Messenger has come to Hotmail: Now you can IM through the web via Windows Live Hotmail. You can sign-in to Windows Live Messenger directly from within Hotmail and exchange IMs with your Messenger contacts.

IM via Hotmail

If you are ever on a PC that doesn’t have Windows Live Messenger installed, just go to your Hotmail inbox and sign in to Messenger there to chat with your contacts. Once you sign-in, you can browse your contacts via your People page. If you are signed in to Messenger while checking your Hotmail and a contact sends you an IM, a toast will pop up in the lower right-hand corner of the page just as it does on a PC. For more details on Web IM in Windows Live Hotmail – see this blog post from Antonia on the Windows Live Team Blog.

Arrange your Photos in Windows Live SkyDrive: I blogged about this last week. Windows Live SkyDrive now allows you to arrange your photos in any order you want (thanks to Silverlight).

Arrange photos in SkyDrive

In one of your Photos folders on SkyDrive just click “Sort” and choose “Arrange photos”.

Photos of you: A new entry point has been added to Windows Live Profile pages called “Photos of you”. Essentially, this new link will take you to a page of photos tagged with a specific person (or yourself). It’s a great way to see all the photos your friends appear in or photos you appear in.

Photos of you

SkyDrive takes your Favorites: All your Favorites from are now automatically moved to SkyDrive where you can use Windows Live Toolbar to sync your Favorites with Internet Explorer on your PCs.

And the Windows Live Sync website has now been integrated with the new Windows Live UI we launched with this last fall.

New Windows Live Sync website

The new Windows Live Sync website makes a huge difference in managing your personal and shared folders and managing the PCs you are syncing them with.

Enjoy the improvements to Windows Live!