Microsoft Windows Live senior director Ryan Gavin has outlined why he is excited about the raft of social networking improvement in the new software, admitting that this would have been a more appropriate time to launch the 'Live' brand.

Talking to TechRadar, Gavin expressed his belief that Windows Live was a step in the right direction in giving people a platform to bring all of their social interactions together on the web.

"When I think about what's happening online today it still is really two things – what's happening in my world and what's happening in the world and fundamentally those two activities make up 65 per cent of online usage.

"What's happening in my world is where Windows Live is – in the communications and sharing section that makes up 33 per cent of the time online and includes email, instant messaging and social networking. Social networking has come on very strong as the third leg of that stool.

Legacy

Hotmail and what was formely MSN instant messenger make up the cornerstone of Windows Live's audience, but adding in the social networking aspect is of paramount importance to Gavin.

"Live has its base in mail and messaging with 460 million active users and 17 per cent of online time specifically in the UK which is quite staggering when you think about it.

"The lines between instant messaging, email and social networking are really being taken down; we're thinking about these things less as discrete categories and more as integrated thing.

"When you look at how things have evolved it's been an explosion in rich ways to communicate in the past few years and it's also set up a new set of challenges.

"So there's been an explosion of ways to communicate but there's only one consumer at the centre of this with one list of friends to manage or one list of contacts and they are saying 'help me manage that list.

Communications

"There are ways that I like to communicate and ways that I like to be communicated to. Tons of ways to get hold of someone but I don't want to log into five accounts to find out if someone is trying to get hold of me and it's the same with stuff like documents, data and pictures. This gets spread over several devices but you should be able to access it easily

"Finally there are applications and a truth in that which says when you think about consumer service no one company is going to build the end to end consumer value properly so you'd better have platform so that third parties can make that first party platform better.

"And because it's my data when I leave I'd better be able to take it with me."

Gavin believes that this update indicates a sea change for the software and web applications, admitting that the past confusion over the move away from brands like MSN and hotmail to the 'Live' name make a lot more sense with this raft of changes.

"In some ways this would have been the best time to launch the Live brand," he adds.