Microsoft has released a suite of tools to integrate its popular Messenger client into your website. Called Messenger Connect, the new API embeds a Windows Live Messenger chat window on your site, which enables visitors to share links, collaborate, or just stay connected to friends.
Windows Messenger has a user base of 299 million, compared to Gmail's 173 million. I also think that a greater proportion of Windows Messenger users will actively use its social features than the proportion of Gmail users who actively use Buzz.
Indeed, it makes sense. Instant messaging is, by its nature, more immersive than email. The concept behind Messenger Connect is to allow users the option of opening up or maintaining a conversation while on another site. If you think that sounds like multi-tasking overload, consider that BBC lets its viewers watch with friends.
Microsoft's Angus Logan explains three common use cases:
- Targeted (to one person or a few people), real time sharing of content.
- Creating immersive experiences and reducing context switching
- Rendezvous (are my friends on this site?)
Logan also goes a little deeper into integration in this Channel 9 video from Microsoft.