Microsoft makes friends with social networks

Hmm, interesting..

Microsoft has announced collaborations that will see Windows Live more tightly integrated with the world’s top five social networking sites.

The software giant is working with Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, LinkedIn and Tagged to exchange a set of APIs which allow users to easily and securely move their contacts and relationships between services.

“Social networks are becoming a fundamental way in which we communicate, and we are happy to be a part of that,” said a spokesman for Microsoft.

“These partnerships will enhance our users’ online experiences and the way in which they choose to communicate with their friends and families.”

Users will be able to invite their Windows Live Contacts to join them on the social networking services without the need for screen-scraping, or providing private user credentials to outside networks.

“We continue to explore ways to open up Facebook in safe and secure ways that benefit our users and we are working with Microsoft, a trusted partner, to test a new data portability initiative,” said a spokeswoman for Facebook.

“Facebook will continue to work with other trusted partners to explore new initiatives around data portability.”

As part of this collaboration, Microsoft is introducing a new Windows Live Messenger website where users can invite contacts from any of the five social networks to join them.

The service is live today on Facebook and Bebo, and will become live on Hi5, LinkedIn and Tagged in the coming months.