Software giant Microsoft has released a beta version of its Windows Live Messenger Connect service.
Connect will allow users to log in to partner websites, including Photobucket, Goodreads, Add This and Scribble Live, using their Messenger credentials.
The service works similarly to Facebook Connect, OpenID and the unified log-in services offered by Yahoo, Google and Twitter.
Microsoft hopes to popularise the service by taking advantage of its existing Messenger user base. By allowing users to sign in and share website content with their friends using their Messenger IDs, the new service will also offer partner web sites the opportunity to widen their user base.
Writing on the Windows Team blog, Angus Logan, senior technical manager for Windows Live, wrote: “Connect allows users to communicate, share, and connect with their Messenger friends on other websites. It is a flexible, yet prescriptive set of APIs to help create intuitive experiences that can be tightly integrated into a website or another app.”
Currently, access to Windows Live Messenger Connect is by invitation only.