M3 screenshots of Windows Live Messenger 2010 revealed
Posted by absorbation on Mon 26 Apr 2010 (23:30 GMT) (14809 views)
New screenshots have surfaced of Windows Live Essentials Milestone 3, which reveal UI changes to Windows Live Messenger. LiveSide have given details on the the latest build, believed to have been compiled a week ago:

It appears that the menu bar on the top of Messenger conversation windows has been converged with the menu bar in the conversation box. Here’s a quick screenshot:



We hope to update this post with more screenshots as they arrive.


25 brand new emoticons come to Windows Live Messenger 2010
Posted by absorbation on Sun 18 Apr 2010 (22:20 GMT) (19712 views)
Back in February news surfaced that the classic Messenger emoticons are to receive a facelift for Windows Live Messenger 2010. Now LiveSide have uncovered the full set, which appears to contain an additional 25 new emoticons on top of the current selection. You can see them all in the screenshot below:



This brings the number of Messenger emoticons to 106.


Now it's leaked: What do users think of Messenger 2010?
Posted by absorbation on Tue 23 Mar 2010 (19:30 GMT) (101897 views)
In case you didn't already know, Windows Live Messenger 2010 build 15.2.2583.119 leaked last week and has since been floating around on various BitTorrent trackers. Although the build was never intended for public release, it gave Messenger fans their first hand-on with what Microsoft has been developing over the past year. I've been analysing what the community has been discussing and asking users for feedback.

The initial flow of reactions came from the Messenger Plus! forums, where users started to discuss the leak and post screenshots. Unfortunately most feedback was on the negative side. Commenting on the new social networking features, one regular member said:

It's OK. Not liking the social mode much yet, although maybe once it'll allow me to connect to Facebook and Twitter properly it may be better ...

I liked the look of the emoticons from the preview screenshot, but after using them I dislike them.



Another user enjoyed how Windows 7 compatiablity was complete:

Only thing I remotely like is the Win 7 integration which it all finally seems to be working right ... It's no great improvement to WLM 2009 I reckon. If they want Windows Live Messenger to become a "social networking hub" then they need to implement different steps. The social stream has the potential to work but the split screen contact list alongside the stream does not work well, the text is bulky and large, doesn't work well without images.



MenthiX, scripts and skins database manager for Messenger Plus! had a more positive view:

I don't think the leaked build is a good version to base our opinion of Live Messenger 2010 on. The leaked build is still a very early version with a lot of missing features and bugs. I don't recommend people install it other than on virtual machines. We already saw screenshots of newer builds over a month ago which are more polished, these just aren't available to the public yet.

As far as the new features go: I think they are heading in the right direction by making Messenger more social. While I'm not a huge fan of the social networks, it is the global trend and Messenger is currently loosing users to Facebook and Twitter. People are already creating scripts to sync their personal messages with their social networks, what Microsoft is trying to do in Messenger 2010 seems like a natural step. And for those who don't like it there is a single option which will turn the contactlist back to what we are used to from Messenger 2009 and you'll never have to see the social stream again. Both type of users can be happy. But the interface needs more polishing, especially the social mode looks bloated. Fonts are oversized and there is just too much going on. A giant square ad isn't helping either ...

All together, when the polish up the interface and make it look cleaner I think Messenger 2010 can be a nice new version. Hopefully we'll get to see improved builds soon."



Our admin Chris seemed to think the application needed a face lift:

The idea behind it is good, connecting everyone to their social networks they are apart of, but they need to rethink the design, its 2010 - which in my opinion is all about clean, simple user interfaces.



When asked about the leak, Jonathan Kay, a Microsoft Most Valued Professional and Messenger enthusiast told Messenger Stuff:

Well I don't think it's really a big deal, we'd all seen the leaked screenshots anyway so any "damage" was already done. As most of the new social functionality doesn't seem to be working, we can't even really see what that's completely all about. I don't think there's much incentive for anyone to actually use it right now either.



Perhaps more interesting is how one of the exclusive testers of the leaked build, Nigel Ansell, detailed on his Facebook profile an estimated timeline for Wave 4 product releases:

  • 28 April VIP testers will get access to latest builds
  • 18 May WL2010 M3 RTW
  • 3 June Complete Public disclosure
  • 7 June Public Beta Day
  • 7 June iPhone main languages Messenger
  • 25 August iPhone additional languages Messenger + PUBLIC RTW


I can agree with most of the reactions within the community. I'm not a a fan of the new social panel, nor do I believe Microsoft has revolutionised its IM client enough to compete with new social networking challenges. Overall, considering this build was never meant to see the light of day, Microsoft are making features that users have been asking for, even if they may not yet be fully ready.



Windows Live Messenger 2010 leaked: Details and screenshots inside
Posted by absorbation on Sun 21 Mar 2010 (20:40 GMT) (55541 views)
It has been a long time coming, but the first build of Windows Live Messenger 2010 has leaked, confirming many of the features we have seen in our coverage over the past eight months.

The build number, 15.2.2583.119 has been floating around the Internet since yesterday, after reports from LiveSide confirmed the leak had occurred earlier in the week. We at Messenger Stuff have installed the beta and had a close look at what Windows Live Messenger 2010 has to offer.

Below are some important notes concerning the leaked build:
  • The build is perhaps many months old. Believed to be milestone 2, website cnBeta has posted screenshots of milestone 3 from over a month ago. We can only assume much more has happened since.
  • Only certain Live IDs are able to sign into the beta as is the case with most internal releases. Wikikou has posted a protocol down-grader to allow users to sign into the leak, however conservations are highly unstable.
  • The leaked version is extremely buggy, despite its initial polished appearance.
  • There appears to be signs of Facebook Chat integration.
  • Tabbed chats are confirmed.
  • You can revert to the classic style contact list.


We at Messenger Stuff don't provide links to leaked beta builds, particularly ones that are unstable. Even with the workaround to sign in the leaked beta is too unpractical to use in its current state.

With the bugs aside, Windows Live Messenger 2010 looks almost ready for a public release, and I think we can expect a public beta soon.

View our gallery of screenshots of the leaked beta


                         
          


Facebook Chat integration coming to Windows Live Messenger?
Posted by absorbation on Sun 21 Mar 2010 (14:39 GMT) (7001 views)
There has been a consensus that instant messaging is in decline while the popularity of social networking websites are on a rapid rise. Although statistics suggest otherwise, the buzz around IM seems to be stagnant, or at least from my perspective. IM is in desperate need of life and perhaps embracing social networking in will be the panacea it needs.

LiveSide has uncovered evidence to suggest Windows Live Messenger 2010 is likely to implement Facebook Chat integration. What does this mean? You can chat to your friends on Facebook from within Messenger.

Microsoft currently possesses a 1.6% share in Facebook, estimated to be worth $15bn. It is a logical step that the company would want to expand its involvement in one of the biggest websites on the Internet today.

However, the extend to how integrated the two platforms are going to be is open to doubt. Unlike when Windows Live Messenger allowed you to talk to your Yahoo! Messenger contacts, the differences in protocols may create some heavy limitations. LiveSide comments:

What this possibly means though is that your Windows Live contacts are not fully integrated with your Facebook contacts. For example, a person may be online on Messenger as well as Facebook chat, but might appear as two different contacts on your Messenger contact list. Guess we'll have to live with that given that it'd be quite complicated to match your Windows Live contacts with Facebook's contact. We wonder if any other social networks or protocols will be supported though!



Source: LiveSide - Windows Live Messenger Wave 4: Interoperability with Facebook chat



New screenshots reveal further details on Windows Live Messenger 2010
Posted by absorbation on Mon 22 Feb 2010 (12:35 GMT) (24579 views)
Over the past few months news has started to surface on the details of the wave 4 release of Windows Live products and services and this has included a vast array of information on Messenger. View our tag page on WLM 2010 to get a full overview of new features revealed so far.

So what can we reveal today? Well new leaked screenshots uncover a further merging of Messenger with social networking. LiveSide have analysed the images in detail and discovered five key changes:


Classic "Contact List" view is still available – as we've told you earlier, the expanded "social" pane on the left is collapsible by simply clicking on the icon on the top-right corner. The screenshot on the right shows the collapsed view, with the advertisement in its original size.

Twitter and WordPress connection – one of the screenshots showed us that besides Facebook, you can also "connect" to Twitter and WordPress

Possible Video Messages integration – Windows Live Video Messages has been in beta since its introduction back in 2008, and while it is branded with the Wave 3 theme, it didn’t really have much integration with the rest of Windows Live. From one of the newly leaked screenshots, one of the social updates seems to show that Video Messages is now integrated right into Messenger:



Geo-tagging support in Windows Live Photos – One of the social update tiles also hinted at possible geo-tagging support in Windows Live Photos (and perhaps even Photo Gallery!):



New "Friends" view – which allows you to view all your contacts and sort them into categories based on their interests, details, Messenger status, and more:




Once again we've seen some interesting details on what we can expect to be using within the next couple of months. Windows Live Messenger 2010 has great focus on social networking integration, perhaps in an attempt to thwart the competition it faces from such websites.

Source: CNBeta


The short history of Windows Live Messenger
Posted by absorbation on Sun 21 Feb 2010 (21:06 GMT) (9910 views)
Well not entirely. Group Program Manager for social networking within Windows Live, Jeff Kunin has provided "a short history" of Windows Live Messenger, which reveals many interesting facts and statistics. The post title is misleading, but once you extrapolate its content there are some great finds. This post intends to sum these up!

The article draws parrells with the rise of social networking and the popularity of IM. I have argued that IM has gone into decline since the rise of social networking websites as they act as a substitute products. However, the statistics available appear to falsify this statement. IM is on the rise, and social networking seems to be a compliment. Kunin argues that the advancement of new technologies helps their former, citing the example of now IM helped e-mail. It is an interesting idea.

  • 4% of people who use Facebook in a given month also use Hotmail or Messenger in that same month, and vice versa 66% of monthly Messenger users also use Facebook, according to Comscore
  • More than 300 million people in 76 countries and 48 languages use Messenger every month
  • Messenger users now represent:
    • 65% of all Internet users in Brazil
    • 48% of all Internet users in Canada
    • 48% of all Internet users in Spain
    • 47% of all Internet users in France
    • 40% of all Internet users in Italy
    • 39% of all Internet users in UK
  • People use Messenger for 163 billion minutes every month, which is about 9.4% of all time consumers spend on the Internet worldwide
  • More than 40% of our users sign in each day (more than 130 million daily users)
  • Every day, those users share over 1.5 billion conversations and send more than 9 billion messages
  • And at peak times, that drives more than 40 million "simultaneous online connections," (the number of people signed in at the same time)
  • Messenger users share over 1 billion status updates every month
  • Those users often click through from the Messenger client to the Web, helping drive more than 300 million users to Windows Live Profile, Home, and SkyDrive every month


Source: Inside Windows Live blog - Windows Live Messenger – a short history


Screenshot reveals possible change to Messenger emoticons [Update]
Posted by absorbation on Sat 20 Feb 2010 (22:18 GMT) (23373 views)
Perhaps the emoticons in MSN/ Windows Live Messenger have become a de facto standard for emoticon representation across many programs. You may judge this statement with close scrutiny, but their style has been adopted across many other applications and platforms. The Messenger emoticons have remained virtually untouched for years, but recent screenshots have revealed a radical update to the series.


Are these emoticons replacing the current set?


LiveSide described the change as "minor" yet "noteworthy". I couldn't agree more, as Microsoft's IM client has used the set for so many years now it seems odd that they would change. A glossy effect and the addition of eyebrows appears to be the real differences within the new emoticons, adding a more modern feel to the classic designs.

What do you think about the change (if it is indeed true)? I for one am indifferent, yet I think the current emoticons are some of the best in any available set.


Update

New screenshots have revealed the emoticon panel in full, showing that indeed the entire range has received a facelift. You can see the changes in the images below:



New screenshots emerge of Windows Live Messenger 2010
Posted by absorbation on Sun 03 Jan 2010 (19:48 GMT) (51658 views)
Back in December screenshots of the new Windows Live Messenger 2010 user interface were leaked by Neowin revealing some new features including social networking integration and tabbed chatting within conversation windows. Now LiveSide have revealed some new screenshots, shedding further light on what Messenger has to offer us in the upcoming year.

New features include what appears to be full compatibility with the new Windows 7 taskbar, some enchanted photo sharing options and the introduction of a banner advertisement within the conversation window (which may prove controversial).


Piecemeal obstructiveness of the Messenger ads may now have
reached a controversial tipping point



Winks and emoticons appear to have been merged


Browse the rest of the screenshots over at LiveSide


Are Windows Live Messenger advertisements becoming more obstructive?
Posted by absorbation on Tue 15 Dec 2009 (21:41 GMT) (28347 views)
Microsoft generates profit on Windows Live Messenger through advertising, duh? So I want to start this post by saying without advertising in Messenger it wouldn't exist and thus they are a necessary evil in order to keep the service free. You probably notice the image advertisement on your contact list and a small text one at the bottom of your conservation window. However, it's the changes to these formats which are causing concern.

Previously we have reported on the content of some advertisments but the worry now is on the obstructive nature of some of these within the contact list and the size of those present in leaked screenshots of Windows Live Messenger 2010 last week. Take the example of the advertisement below (this is the rollover effect):



If the screenshots leaked last week of Windows Live Messenger 10 are indeed real then the situation could get worse:



So what's your opinion of advertising within Windows Live Messenger? Do you patch them out or use skins to mask them up? Do you ever find an advert relevant to your interests? As ever I'm always interested in opinions of users and this post is a response to the concerns I've been hearing the past week.