Windows Live shares your Messenger contacts

Woody leonhard By Woody Leonhard

Anticipating its “Wave 4” Windows Live rollout of new Hotmail and Messenger apps, Microsoft made sweeping changes in how it connects you with its latest social-networking construct.

With the new Live format, Microsoft pays a great deal of lip service to maintaining your privacy; but my tests show you can’t trust what you see on the screen.

I took Microsoft to task for its privacy inanities in my April 22 Top Story, “Hotmail’s social networking busts your privacy.” That story obviously struck a chord with WS readers, generating nearly 4,000 page views of the column’s Lounge thread — an astounding number.

Now, imagine my surprise when I discovered that the so-called new and improved, privacy-conscious version of Windows Live — the social-networking sphere containing Messenger and Hotmail — continues to share my personal information, even when I explicitly tell it to keep my info and communications private.

If you’re confused by the Windows Live moniker, don’t feel alone. Microsoft has changed the meaning of Windows Live enormously over the past five years. It started out as a rebranding of Microsoft Network (MSN), the company’s umbrella label for its many online services and sites.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2010-07-22:

Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.