There are quite a lot of people I talked to the last couple of weeks who wanted to attend Mix06, but for a variety of reasons weren't able to. This morning before attending the day 1 Mix06 keynotes I was chatting with a couple of people not attending Mix06 over Windows Live Messenger. Now for those people I just saw a great new feature: the Mix06 Information Bot. What's a bot? 

Bots are automated contacts in Messenger:

  • Simple and more personal way for users to interact with your business
  • They range from simple text based interactions to rich conversation & Activity application
  • Available 24x7 for users to interact with your business

You can add a bot to your messenger list, just as any other contact. The Mix Bot is Mix06info@hotmail.com and once you started the conversation you can find information about the MIX06 conference and Las Vegas by typing in commands:

  • Type 'schedule' to access the conference agenda
  • Type 'speakers' to access speaker information
  • Type 'activities' to access information outside the conference
  • Type ‘menu’ to get started or 'help' for instructions.

When the bot provides you with an instant answer it will open a messenger activity. An activity is a rich application shared between users within Messenger. It's a natural extension of the IM conversation that incorporates information from a rich application shared by the users. The great thing of activities are that they can drive deeper user engagement with services, brands and content. It also enables new scenarios to display content and drive traffic to your assets. Think about new commerce scenarios... For developers all of this can be made available from any web site through the SDK available on MSDN.

Check out the today announced Windows Developer Live Center on MSDN for more information on Windows Live, platform and services for web mashups.

Another interesting on the Live Services is "Windows Live ID", a single sign-in for all of Windows Live.

If you're willing to learn more on the Live Services, make sure to check out the Windows LiveSide blog.

Oh ... and during the keynotes Scott Guthrie announced a new release of Atlas and a Go-Live license so you can take applications into production. The March CTP of Atlas now supports the UpdatePanel, building gadgets, etc.

Next is attending the Spark @Mix session with Mike Platt, Anne Thomas Manes and Dion Hinchcliffe. In this session they will provide us with the outcome of their Spark discussions on Web 2.0, SOA and SaaS.

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