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New IM networks for Windows Live

1 April 2009 by J.M.

In an internal message to developers, the Windows Live team has announced the long-awaited integration of several instant messaging networks to work together with Windows Live. Among these networks to be added are ICQ and Skype as well as AIM, Facebook Chat and Google Talk.

“We are currently aiming to achieve full integrative support for widely popular instant messaging networks. Therefore, we have started discussions with the back-end and front-end Developer Teams of AOL LLC, Skype Ltd and Google Inc. Furthermore, we have intensified our cooperation with Facebook Inc. for a similar purpose,” says Dharmesh Mehta, Windows Live Messenger Product Manager.

The integration of the chat networks powered by AOL, namely ICQ and AIM, has always been a big wish for Messenger users all around the world, and seems to be the continuing of what the Messenger team started when adding support for Yahoo, back in 2006. Skype integration offers interesting possibilities, such as video and voice calls right from Windows Live Call.

With Facebook, another social networking site enters the boat, and I think Microsoft is just happy about being able to continue their efforts to introduce social networking to Messenger; we have already seen the beginning of this in Wave 3 (Windows Live Profile, What's New Feeds etc). Finally, connecting with Google opens another wide audience of Messenger users.

The current master plan for adding support for ICQ, AIM, Skype, Facebook and GTalk is Q4-2009, so it will probably make its way into Windows Live Wave 4, where ideas are currently gathered for and sorted.

“I can't promise too much yet, but I think it's just what Windows Live is missing currently,” states Dharmesh. “You’ll soon be able to add Facebook […] on Windows Live. This means that […], if you’re a Facebook user, you can choose to allow info and photos that you post on Facebook to show up in 'What’s new' for anyone in your network on Windows Live,” says Brian Hall, General Manager for Windows Live.

Adding support for all major instant messaging networks would make Windows Live Messenger the unquestionable no. 1, and it seems that Microsoft is finally realizing exactly this – if things are implemented the way they are announced.

Looking forward to hear your opinion on this!

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