If you use mobile apps that work with Facebook or Twitter then you are probably familiar with the process for giving those apps permission to access your account on those services. Microsoft is now providing developers the ability to access Windows Live accounts in the same manner, which means third party apps can access information like contacts and photos on Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive.
The functionality to access Windows Live accounts is provided in a developer platform called Messenger Connect, which can be used by developers of Android, iOS, and Windows Phone apps. Examples of what developers could add to their apps include being able to save events to a Hotmail calendar, finding friends using Windows Live contacts, provide real-time chat via Windows Messenger, change the Windows Messenger status, and access photos on SkyDrive.
With the growth in popularity of social sites like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Google+, you might wonder why any developer would spend the time integrating their apps with Windows Live. Microsoft says that 500 million people use Windows Live, which represents a pretty large group of people who likely would appreciate being able to access their information from third party apps.
With these developer tools just being released, it is going to take a while for apps that take advantage of them to be available. One logical app that might provide this type of integration is Seesmic, so I’ll be keeping an eye out to see whether Seesmic, or anyone else, provides an update with Windows Live support.