Windows Live Groups
Windows Live Groups homepage
The service allows users to form their own community groups, similar to the way Facebook Groups function, allowing members of the group to participate in group discussions. In addition, Windows Live Groups integrates with the following Windows Live services to provide collaboration and sharing features:
- Hotmail Calendar provides a group calendar function which allows all members of the Group to add or keep track of calendar events for their Group
- Windows Live Messenger allow users to create Groups (not to be confused with "categories" in Messenger) in their contact list and start conversations with these Groups
- SkyDrive provides members of the Group 7GB of storage to upload and share their files and documents for others in the Group to download
- Windows Live Photos allow members of the Group to upload and share their photos with each other
- Hotmail provides users to send mass group e-mail messages to all members of a particular Group they are part of.
- Windows Live Office provides users with access to the Office Web Apps, and it uses the group's SkyDrive storage.
- Windows Live Family Safety blocks the use of Windows Live Groups for child managed accounts.
The owner of the group can choose a group theme, message and a picture. They can also delete the group, manage who joins the group etc.
Windows Live Groups was released on December 2, 2008. MSN Groups, a similar offering from Microsoft, has been discontinued on/after February 21, 2009. However, contents from MSN Groups could not be migrated over to Windows Live Groups, due to the different focus between the two products. The Windows Live Groups service is optimized for small groups like clubs or families, whereas MSN Groups caters to a wide variety of group sizes and types, including large public groups. Windows Live Groups was updated to the "Wave 4" release on June 7, 2010.