Microsoft has launched its next generation of 'Windows Live' software – and is focusing much more on bringing its range of services together.

With a focus on a social news feed – something that is increasingly prevalent in social networking – Microsoft is hoping to convince its 460 million users that like popular programmes like Hotmail and Messenger to link things together with its other services.

The focus has also switched to third parties – with the likes of Twitter feeds, Flickr photos and WordPress feeds all accessible from the new services so that you can keep in touch with other things going on in your online network.

"Think of Windows Live as the single place where people using email, messaging and photo sharing services can stay connected, said John Mangelaars, Microsoft EMEA's Vice President of Consumer and Online.

Single location

"Our customers have friends across the web, they communicate through many unconnected web services and want access to it all from a single location without worrying about how it's done.

"Now Windows Live takes care of that with an integrated personal communications service that works across the web with optimised experiences on the PC and mobile phone."

It's the latest play from Microsoft to leverage the still popular elements of its service with the other online services that have not yet taken off, and the decision to embrace the web shows that the vision is evolving at the company.

Of course, for the service to be a standout success relies on third parties making feeds available – but 50 companies have already joined, including Flickr, LinkedIn, Pandora, Photobucket, Twitter, WordPress and Yelp.