Windows Live Contacts Gadget beta released

Danny Thorpe of the Windows Live Platform team announced on his blog Momentary Gouts of Reason what he calls "a new kind of web component" the Windows Live Contacts Gadget.

What's it for? The contacts gadget is client-side JavaScript that enables end users to use their Windows Live contacts (from Windows Live Mail/Hotmail and Messenger) with third party (non-Microsoft) web sites, conveniently and securely. The gadget works with any web server, most browsers, and doesn't require reams of license or partnership paperwork with Microsoft. You don't have to assimilate your web server into the Microsoft collective in order to play with Windows Live contact data.

The Live Contacts Gadget allows a website to utilize information from a user's Windows Live Contacts to share contact data, to easily fill in address data, for example. It also means that websites can get the benefits of Windows Live Contacts without having to create and manage databases to store that information. There's a home page, an API, a couple of neat samples, and more at dev.live.com. This is not a simple "add this to your Spaces" type of gadget – you have to know your way around JavaScript, but it's a good early example of how the Windows Live Platform team and others are taking opening up their platform seriously.

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