Microsoft has announced a data portability partnership with five social networks. Effectively immediately, Facebook and Bebo users will be able to add friends via their Windows Live address book.
Within the next few months the same functionality will be available to Hi5, Tagged and LinkedIn users.
Key to the announcement is the Windows Live Contacts API, which reaches into system back-ends to access data rather than relying on “screen scraping” techniques to rip friends lists from displays. Describing its partner alliances as a “two-way street”, Microsoft has launched a new site–invite2messenger.net–where users can invite friends from participating social networks to chat on Live Messenger.