Windows Live and You: “Building the right platform for web sites to plug into Windows Live users” (Angus Logan, Microsoft)

Angus Logan Welcome to a new interview in the summer edition of the series “Windows Live and You”! Today I have invited a special guest to talk with him about his personal relation to Windows Live: let’s welcome Angus Logan, Senior Technical Product Manager for Live Services at Microsoft.

mynetx: Angus, it is a pleasure for me to talk with you about Windows Live! Please tell me a bit about yourself. How is your daily life really involved with Windows Live?

Angus Logan: Where to start… I’m Australian but I live in the US. I’m mostly in Seattle but I travel a lot. Most days I’m working with the developers and program managers or talking with customers to make sure we are building the right platform for web sites to plug into Windows Live users.

mynetx: As Technical Product Manager for Live Services, you make it possible for web sites to plug into the 500 million people who use Windows Live, you say. Is it a satisfying job, a thrilling one?

Angus Logan: Working with some of the largest web sites in the world to connect them up to 500 million people is pretty cool. One killer feature and —bam!— 500 million enjoy using the internet a little more.

mynetx: Many people know you, but I guess this hasn’t been the case some time ago. Since when are you in the Windows Live business? Tell me a bit about your history.

Angus Logan: In Australia I worked for a few Microsoft partners and a start-up. I was a Microsoft MVP for Content Management Server and that somehow got me a job at Microsoft Australia in technical pre-sales. After doing that for a couple of years, I decided to shift my view of websites from the CMS infrastructure to social platforms—and that was about 2 years ago.

mynetx: Do you think the Windows Live team, including yourself, cares for your users’ demands? Why?

Angus Logan: I haven’t met one team at Microsoft who isn’t always focused on the customer (in this case, 500M people who use Windows Live). We need to always talk with end users because when you work on the product every day, inside a software company—you have a certain point of view. We always need to test our thoughts, and gather ideas in order to build killer products for “normal people” (not geeks).

mynetx: Within the next five years, where could you picture Windows Live?

Angus Logan: Making it even easier for more people to communicate, share and keep their life in sync.

mynetx: Do you run Windows Live Messenger 24/7? Do you have some kind of a routine with Messenger and the other parts of Windows Live?

Angus Logan: It is so much a part of my life, I have no routine—it’s just there. I use Messenger for work, I use it to play, I use it to find people to go to lunch with, I wake up and see if I have any messages from overnight, I cruise the personal messages of my friends, and whilst chatting with people… I look for other people to chat with.

Windows Live Messenger Web Toolkit Interactive SDK (click to enlarge) mynetx: How big is the market for Web Messengers—and what role plays the Messenger Web Toolkit in this sector?

Angus Logan: The Web Toolkit provides a way for Messenger users to connect with their Messenger friends on other web sites. The market opportunity is big! Anyone who uses IM is a potential user of web messenger. I think web messengers need to be used in addition to a rich client, otherwise the experience isn’t great (e.g. toasts/notifications).

mynetx: Use your fantasy: how do you think Messenger will look like within the next five years? What new features could it present?

Angus Logan: It has come so far in 10 years, when I try to imagine what will happen in the next 10 my head hurts. All I know is it will still be connecting you with the people you care about.

mynetx: Comparing these ideas with Messenger’s current features, which of these might be added in the next release, Wave 4?

Angus Logan: Nice try 🙂 . You know I can’t talk about the future.

mynetx: Are you satisfied with the Windows Live services that are provided to you? Why?

Angus Logan: Although I’m more than satisfied, I think there are always areas where we can continue to grow and innovate.

Dynamic Pictures from webcam in Messenger 2009mynetx: What is your favorite feature in Messenger?

Angus Logan: Being able to set emoticons to videos of yourself (Dynamic Pictures). That is soooo awesome (and fun!).

mynetx: Live Mesh—what was your first impression of it? Do you see any ways of connecting this cloud service to Messenger and the other Essentials?

Angus Logan: I have always been impressed by Live Mesh and more importantly the underlying platform, the Live Framework, which has really captured the imagination of developers.

mynetx: Is the retirement of Windows Live Events the first step towards Wave 4’s rule “Simplify! Connect!”?

Angus Logan: I don’t work on Events, but check out:!2F7EB29B42641D59!41244.entry.

Outlook calendar synchronisation in Office Communicator 2007 R2mynetx: Do you wish Messenger would have a feature that a third-party IM software already has?

Angus Logan: Yes, this will sound a little bit geeky, but… In Office Communicator your status is automatically updated depending on what is in your calendar, and it tells people how long until you are free. That would be so cool. Perhaps make it a little more consumer-centric, like when you are watching Hulu, it could tell people you will be free in 15 minutes (at the end of the episode).

mynetx: I’m sure you have read about the April Fool’s joke I made this year, talking about “More IM networks for Windows Live”. How much of that vision will come true, according to your personal opinion?

Angus Logan: I don’t want to speculate about the future.

mynetx: What do you personally think: will separate chat networks with proprietary protocols continue to exist, or is this also likely to get standardized and linked as so many other areas in computer?

Angus Logan: Let’s look at this from another angle—the user experience. If we pick the 3 biggest IM networks, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM. Sure, these 3 use different protocols but you know what—end user’s just don’t care. People only care about “cool, I can chat from Windows Live Messenger to my friend who uses Yahoo! Messenger”. So yes, I think there will always be different networks. Will the protocols converge (for example XMPP)? I’m not sure.

mynetx: As a Messenger user, I’m sure you’ve got a good tip that not everybody might know about yet.

Angus Logan: My best tip is to setup the IM Control and then setup a TinyUrl which is like: (this is a fake one)—but you can tell someone, yeah just

mynetx: Finally, are you working on any project related to Windows Live currently?

Angus Logan: I’m always working on Windows Live Platform related projects, talking with lots of customers about what they want, what works and what doesn’t.

mynetx: Thank you for your time and for sharing your opinion! 🙂

Angus Logan: You’re welcome!

Talking with Angus

You want to talk with Angus? There are several ways to contact him:

Angus Logan, Senior Technical Product Manager for Live Services