Connecting with people

Some days I Interact more with the people in my social network than the people in my office.  This was something I really wanted to remedy, after all you can learn a great deal from your co-workers. So when I heard Andy Robb was Joining our team from the Windows Live Partner Team, I thought It would be a great idea to treat him to a “welcome to the team beer” and ask him what he knew about Windows Live Messenger Connect, something that I will be developing with in the next few weeks. 

Sadly, after my holiday last week, I’ve been trying to reduce my outgoings a little. So instead of inviting him for a beer; I wrote up a few questions and emailed them to him. Despite this frugal and unsociable introduction Andy was gracious enough to reply and the results of my little interview are below. 

Now I’m just left with one problem: As a thank you, should I buy him that beer… or should I just send him a virtual thumbs-up?


Martin: So what did you do in your former role.

Andy: Prior to joining the ridiculously talented (bid for free coffee from the team) Developer and Platform Evangelism group, I worked in the Windows Live partner team in Redmond focused on our key partnerships with PC manufacturers.


Martin: I know you worked on Windows Live so I was wondering if you can help me out with something,  I keep hearing about Messenger Connect what is it?

Andy: Messenger Connect is a free tool from Windows Live that allows websites to implement authentication, amplify their content reach and increase engagement on-site by taking advantage of an audience base of over 500m.


Martin: Why should I bother putting messenger connect into my site.

Andy: At the highest level it helps you grow your traffic and engagement. Being more specific: Developers can take advantage of an identity authentication (Windows Live ID) that’s used by hundreds of millions. You can increase your content reach at no cost by letting users share what they find interesting with their Messenger buddies. And you can keep people on your site for longer with a chat experience that’s free, and familiar worldwide.


Martin: Do people still use messenger now that Facebook has a chat system?

Andy: Absolutely – it’s still the world’s # 1 free IM client used by over 320m users worldwide. What Windows Live has done in the latest release (Messenger 2011) is integrate key partners to expand Messenger from an IM client to a kind of social dashboard, where you get updates from what your friends are doing across a host of social networks – no other client has the same number of partners currently signed up. In addition, the depth of these partnerships is pretty advanced – for example you can now IM from Messenger with your friend who’s on Facebook chat. This means for websites, they not only benefit from tapping into the Windows Live network, but by extension with the ever-expanding network that Windows Live has.

Martin: Will it take a long time for me to put Messenger connect into my site?

Andy: The implementation time really depends on the scenario you want to run. The forums are a great place to get insight into other devs’ experience implementing.


Martin: Are there any sites currently using messenger connect?

Andy: It’s only been out of beta for a couple of weeks though the team is working with some top sites as we speak.


Martin: If I wanted to learn more about messenger connect where would I go?

Andy: Windows Live on MSDN (formerly is your best resource, but Angus Logan also did a great post recently on what’s new. We’ll be posting real-world examples on along with tutorials on how those sites implemented – so be sure to check regularly!

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