Microsoft envisioned Circles was an idea about how users could interact with a core group of friends, family, or other acquaintances. To share information with them, to stay in touch with their updates. In fact if Microsoft had launched Circles when it first emerged in public, Facebook et al could have been the ones playing catchup now. As it turned out, Microsoft never got around to launching Circles, until its reincarnation in Windows Live Wave 3, as part of Groups.
So what makes up Groups? Here’s how we see it shaping up:
Groups on Spaces: This is the area that has been talked about already, offering users a shared space on the Windows Live Group service. Key here is the “What’s New Feed” allowing all members of the group to see the updates and changes taking place.
Groups in Messenger: Here is perhaps where Groups will have the most immediate impact. Groups of Messenger contacts, able to keep in contact with one another through Group IM, and exposing access to features offered through other services; What’s New, new photos, shared files, the list goes on. (Wave 11 mockup)
Groups on Skydrive: The logical choice when it comes to sharing files with your friends. This was one of the main components of the Circles mockups, and given the launch of Mesh, it will be interesting to see how much gets implemented in Skydrive.