Live.com Goes Social

This morning the big news is that Live.com, Microsoft’s primary portal which was originally just a search engine has gone social, providing users with profiles and activity feeds of their friends’ latest activities. As Mike Arrington writes, “Users are automatically connected with any friends they have on Windows Live Messenger, which is by far the most popular instant messaging service worldwide.”

With 268 million users using Windows Live Messenger, the company has access to around 16.7 percent of the world’s internet population. That’s more than double Facebook’s user base. It’s clear that social technology is becoming ubiquitous and this is one more step that emphasizes the trend. The largest news about the new site is news feed which imports user activities from around the web.

The new service also includes a number of features that mimic Facebook. For instance you can tag all of your friends in photos in Windows Live. There is a limitless number of tools, far beyond those that other social networks currently offer. For example there are online productivity applications that are integrated directly into the Windows Live experience.

There is also a robust mobile experience which includes access to your feeds, your friends, Microsoft Hotmail, and a number of other services. The bottom line is this goes far beyond what existing social networks provide, it is a web-based suite for your life. One thing that’s interesting is how Microsoft clearly sees Facebook as a competitor to their social networking service.

The two features that Facebook appears to be lacking in the matrix below is customization and blogging. While there has been chatter of a potential blogging platform launching on the site, Facebook is far from enabling users to customize their own profiles. This new Live.com service is huge and it emphasizes how social features are simply one component of our complete online experience.

To learn more check out last night’s Techcrunch post.

-Windows Live Social Network Comparison Matrix-
Chart from Windows Live Reviewer Guide

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