Blog Post

Facebook and Microsoft Open Up Contacts

Microsoft has teamed up with Facebook, Tagged, Hi5, Bebo and LinkedIn to allow people to transfer their contacts between the five networks and Microsoft’s Windows Live Service. It’s a start in being able to access some of the data locked into a social profile, but it’s by no means as wide-ranging as Google’s efforts to push the Social Graph.

The Google effort uses FOAF and XFM tags to track contacts on the public web and port them into participating players, such as Twitter and Flickr, that already use those tags. The Microsoft effort involves an API shared between the six members of the group. Microsoft’s goals are to prevent screen scraping of data used for phishing, whereas Google wants to make information on the internet (even personal connections) as searchable as possible.

8 Responses to “Facebook and Microsoft Open Up Contacts”

  1. Hey Stacey – Love the post.

    Just a few points on the differences between Google Social API and Live Contacts API.

    The Google Social Graph API is for PUBLIC relationships i.e. all the relationships which can be indexed by a search engine;

    The Windows Live Contacts API is for your PRIVATE ADDRESS BOOK / CONTACT LIST – I know people and I would never want my relationship with them to be published on the public internet, but I may want to invite them to Facebook /LinkedIn/Hi5/Tagged.


  2. Kumar Pandey

    Social Graph API is like servlet api. You need a container implemenation of the api like Orkut , Hi5. Then widgets written using the api can be served from the container like Orkut. The basic idea being the same widget then can be uploaded to other containers implementing the api like Hi5 etc.

    So one writes widget that uses the social graph api. Uploads it into container like Orkut. Then any other user in that container who is linked to you can use the widget on that container.

  3. And actually that distinction just makes it more clear that Microsoft doesn’t have an equivalent to the Social Graph API. It’ll be very interesting to see how Google gets the social graph to interoperate with the contacts API, particularly since there’s plenty of room to improve the contacts list which can often be filled with people you don’t know due to their default preference to add people you converse with:

  4. Stacey Higginbotham

    Niraj, thanks for pointing me to Google’s Contacts API, and it does look to have the same security focus that Microsoft is aiming for as well. But I recall that the The Google Social Graph efforts were sold as a way to help import and manage non-Google contacts around the web so think the two Google efforts might be somewhat complimentary. But the Contacts API does look more like and apples-to-apples comparison.