Beta testing has begun on the successor to the uber popular MSN Messenger, so what can we expect from ‘Windows Live Messenger’?
Well, for a start Microsoft is promising not to remove any of the favourite features of the current programme such as contact lists, emoticons, text, voice and video communication and file transfer but it claims to improve on many of them.
Top of the list are a Skype-esque service which will allow PC-to-telephone calls (fees as yet unknown) and ‘Sharing Folders’. The latter is described as an online drop box where users can store data on a Microsoft server. In the words of Microsoft, "You will be able to create a Sharing Folder by simply dragging files onto a contact name in Messenger. This will create an exact copy of the files on both you and your contact's computers, and create a Sharing Folder that can be accessed from Messenger, and on the desktop."
Elsewhere the maximum number of contacts has been increased to 600, offline messages can be sent for contacts to receive when they come online a la Yahoo Messenger, nicknames can be assigned to contacts (which should get rid of the quadruple ‘Chris’ problem I suffer), conversations can be made while appearing offline, time stamps finally feature and the whole programme has undergone an aesthetic face lift which allows customisable colours.
Windows Live Messenger will be limited to computers running Windows XP and the registration system – similar to the old gmail method – means current beta testers each get a limited number of invitations to bring friends on board. They, in turn, can then invite their friends and so forth. Pirate copies of Windows Beta Live are circulating but Microsoft has stomped on this by restricting login access to registered users.
For more take a sneak peak at the links below.