Windows Live links to LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter; Live Search gets a new API

If Microsoft could create a social networking site that would be the grandaddy of all social

networking sites, it might convince more users to join. Of course, all of this has been tried before. Facebook wants to be your main stop. FriendFeed wants to be your main stop. Twitter applications like Twhirl want to help you link to multiple networks. And on and on it goes. Social networking mania is prevailing. But Microsoft is talking as if it hopes that Windows Live will bring a little more order to the chaos. That is, of course, a big "we'll see."

The news today is that Microsoft wants to accomplish said granddaddy status by expanding Windows Live over the next several weeks. It plans to add features that will allow Windows Live to integrate with other social networking sites and to support some cool photo sharing features, reports ChannelWeb. Third-party sites like LinkedIn, Flickr, Photobucket and Twitter will be supported through a "What's New" feed. When users microblog in the "What's new" field, those entries will be pushed out to the user's other social networks.

Microsoft is also beefing up messaging in Windows Live. Windows Live Messenger will gain new features like drag-and-drop photo sharing, tools for organizing contacts, support for up to 20 people in a group chat and autoposting of updates from friends using their "What's New" feeds. Microsoft says Windows Live Hotmail will have improved spam filtering and will allow users to link multiple e-mail accounts together to be accessed by a single device. Those using the online storage service Windows Live SkyDrive will get a big boost in capacity, from 5 gigabytes to 25 gigabytes.

Microsoft says Windows Live has more than 460 million users, with Hotmail users accounting for 375 million.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is wagging a carrot in the faces of Web developers in the hopes of getting them interested in embedding Windows Live Search into their Web sites, the IDG news service reports. Microsoft Thursday unveiled an improved Live Search API called Project Silkroad. Skillroad is an API that supports a broader range of open Web technologies including RSS, JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), REST (Representational State Transfer) and XML (Extensible Markup Language), said Angus Norton, a senior director of Live Search at Microsoft, according to the story. It also does not require that users embed Live Search ads on their sites. But if they choose to run the ads, they are promised a share of the revenue generated.

Microsoft is promising to remove other restrictions as well. It says it will impose no limits to the number of queries a site can make. Site developers can also rank content how they want, tap into Microsoft's image search, news search and phone-book search.

We can't say that these improvements will be compelling enough for Microsoft to win the search war. But it certainly can't hope to compete without them.

Visit the Microsoft Subnet home page for more news, blogs, podcasts. Also see: 10 questions for Small Business Server/Essential Business Server guy, Russ Madlener7 Keys to Cleaning Up Windows with Windows 717 job-hunting resources for Windows prosGlenn Weadock on Windows Server 2008Library of Windows management tools from A Better Windows Worldall Microsoft Subnet bloggers.bi-weekly Microsoft newsletter. (Click on News/Microsoft News Alert.)

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