Have you received any invitations to join your friends and family on Windows Live? If you haven't yet, you probably will. That's because Windows Live is getting more social.

In fact, you can argue that Windows Live was one of the largest untapped social networks in the world. Just think of everyone's Hotmail and Messenger contacts and you'll see what I mean. Our challenge was how to transition from something most people (including probably you) think of as e-mail and instant messaging to something more social.

As we were planning this release of Windows Live, we knew it was important not to have it be "yet another social network." After all, would you want to join just another social network? If youre like most of our customers, youre already participating in several other social networks, and the biggest challenge was just keeping on top of them all.

So we wanted to make sure Windows Live connected to other popular social networking services in addition to having its own social features. Here are some of the social networks we connect to:

· Twitter
· Flickr
· StumbleUpon
· Flixster
· iLike
· Pandora
· Yelp
· TripIt
· WordPress
· PhotoBucket
· Daum

And any custom blog with an RSS feed

We hope to continue to expand the list over time, eventually providing a single place to see everything going on with your friends and family in all your favorite social networks.

This is our fundamental direction for Windows Live.

We want to be a great way for you to communicate and share with the people you care about most. Plus we want Windows Live to be an ideal place for you to keep your overall life in sync with those people, regardless of how you might be connected to them.

Another design consideration we made with this release was making sure you could get those social network updates easily on the web (on http://home.live.com for instance), on your PC (with Windows Live applications like Messenger), or on your mobile phone (via http://mobile.live.com).

Regardless of where you are, Windows Live can help you stay connected.

You can find out more about this latest release of Windows Live at some of these locations:

http://www.windowslive.com
http://windowslivewire.spaces.live.com

Were just in the early stages of this move to becoming more social and would welcome your feedback on the start of our journey.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of these changes to Windows Live. I'd also love to hear any questions you might have or suggestions for future topics.

Marcus Schmidt is the Windows Live Community manager. He blogs at Marcus @ Microsoft. You can follow Marcus on Twitter