An explanation about your Windows Live “Network”

Jamie over at his blog had posted a very nice entry explaining the differences between Spaces friends, Messenger buddies, and Hotmail contacts. Since the launch of the new Wave 3 Windows Live Web services with all these newly introduced concepts like People, Profiles, and your Network, you might have been asking some of the following questions (I know I have):

What’s the difference between People in my Network and People on my Profile?
Are Spaces friends part of my Network?
Can someone be a Messenger buddy without being part of my Network or on my Profile?

The answer lies in the following diagram, kindly provided by one of the developers on the Windows Live team (we’ve beefed it up a little with Office 2007):

people%20explained_4833a9de News

Note that the three categories: People on your Profile, Messenger contacts, and Hotmail address book contacts are not mutually exclusive. Here’s the diagram we came up with showing their relationships:

relationships_56ce2ff6 News  

Hope this clears up some of the confusion about this whole new “Network” concept and gives you a clearer overview of how your contacts are organised in your Windows Live People page. And just a note, the existing People page does not take this whole “Network” concept to the full extent, however, with the next release of Hotmail (coming mid-December), we expect that the People page will also be changed to incorporate these new “Network” concepts. See our Windows Live People review for what the updated People page will look like.