Microsoft refocuses Messenger Social, discontinues “web activities” from July 2012

Windows_Live_Profile_logoSince the release of Windows Live Wave 3, Microsoft added what was then an extension of Windows Live Spaces, allowing every Windows Live ID holder to own a profile, and is able to connect and share their updates with others. The aim was to have “your life, all in one place” by allowing users to connect “web activities” to their Windows Live Profile, which then Windows Live will pull all of the user’s updates and activities on these services to their own Windows Live Profile. It was Microsoft’s attempt at creating a social network, which was heavily based on the Windows Live Spaces architecture.

Since then, with the introduction of Windows Live Wave 4, Microsoft improved upon these “web activities”, and created what they called “connected services”. These are limited to a few social networks only, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace. Whilst “web activities” only pulled the user’s own content on these networks and fanned them out to other Windows Live users, “connected services” allowed users to pull in all their contacts from these social networks into Windows Live, and view their friend’s social updates all in one place – Messenger Social. Contacts from different networks are automatically de-duplicated, so you can learn about all of your contact’s updates across the web all in one place. This formed the basis behind Windows Phone’s “Putting People First” experience, and soon also Windows 8’s People experience.

Microsoft has realised the potential of the newer “connected services” experience, and realised that instead of creating another social network, users preferred simply “connecting” their social networks to Windows Live (or Windows Phone), without having to manage yet another Profile. As such, Microsoft has recently made some changes to its Messenger Social and Windows Live Profile services, re-focussing the purpose of these services. These changes include:

  • Discontinuing “web activities”, which simply shared updates to other Messenger friends, while retaining and continuously improving the “connected services” (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, and more). Users are now presented with the following message:

    Web Activities discontinued

    In fact, Microsoft has already removed all the “web activities” from Windows Live Profile’s Services page. All you see left is the below services, which gives you a good indication of which services will be improved upon in the near future (i.e. YouTube/Google, Sina Weibo):

    Connected Services

  • Removing unnecessary profile information such as “Favorite things”, General profile info, Education info, and Social info, whilst retaining core contact information. Users visiting the Favorite things page are now greeted with the following message:

    Favorite things discontinued

What do you think about this move by Microsoft? Do you think they’re doing the right thing with this refocus of Messenger Social? Let us know in the comments below.