Microsoft gives Bebo users instant messaging

22 Aug 2007

OMG, Bebo users will be able to chat in real time via instant messaging (IM) provided by Windows Live Messenger as Microsoft yesterday announced its partnership with the 36 million-strong networking site.

This deal is a first for Microsoft, the company has never before joined forces with a social network to share contacts and IM ability.

The IM integration sits on the users Bebo homepage, allowing their friends to see their Messenger status as well as chat in real time with Bebo friends from this embedded application.

“Social networking is emerging as the new form of self-expression, allowing people to communicate their passions and express their identity to one another,” said Joanna Shields, international president at Bebo.

“Our agreement with Microsoft Windows Live delivers a powerful, new way to instantly update and keep in touch with friends and serves to make the Bebo user experience even more compelling and interactive.”

Although Bebo remains popular, with 10.1 million unique users in July from the UK alone, the site has been overshadowed by the immense surge in popularity of rival networking site Facebook.

Facebook’s popularity, it seems, lies in its open source coding which allows users to develop add-ons and widgets for everything from news feeds, Flickr, blog feeds to IM.

In contrast Bebo has a high “tweak” factor for adding colourful backgrounds and themes but in comparison to Facebook can be seen to lack the ability to add other Web 2.0 applications which is leading to more and more people live-streaming their online activity from one central location.

By Marie Boran