Microsoft adds Facebook-like features to

Microsoft announced Thursday it has overhauled its search site to include some of the social networking features made famous by companies like Facebook.

Windows Live users will be able to let people they’ve designated as “friends” see activities they are doing in other Web applications through Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger and other Live applications and services, said Chris Jones, corporate vice president of Windows Live at Microsoft.

facebook-like features to

Consumers today are creating online content and sharing it in many places across the Web. To help make it simple for the more than 460 million Windows Live customers to keep their friends up to date, Microsoft is collaborating with leading companies including Flickr, LinkedIn Corp., Pandora Media Inc., Photobucket Inc., Twitter, WordPress and Yelp Inc. to integrate activities on third-party sites into Windows.

The Windows Live Dashboard tries to become the new homepage for your life. The Dashboard links into your e-mail accounts and gives you a live feed of the latest updates from your friends. For example; you will be able to see your friends’ latest Twitter update or pictures uploaded by a mate in Flickr, all in the same stream of updates. But to respond, you would still have to click through to these other sites, which could become a pain.

facebook-like features to

The changes are due to be released before the end of the year, although some applications, such as Windows Live Hotmail, have already been updated to the next version, Jones said.

The company’s Windows Live strategy is also central to its plans to wrestle away online advertising revenue from Google Inc, which has used its dominant search engine to expand into e-mail, online word processing and other businesses that compete directly with Microsoft.

I won’t be giving up my Facebook account anytime soon, but it looks pretty efficient. Significantly, it’s hard to deny the potential of tapping into the hundreds of millions of users already on Microsoft Hotmail and Messenger. Windows Live IM users are over 100 million. Just imagine that!