From the press release Windows Live Messenger Beta Now Available Broadly to Consumers for Download we learn

REDMOND, Wash. — May 9, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the new Windows Live™ Messenger beta is available broadly to the public for download at the Windows Live Ideas Web site. The beta of Windows Live Messenger, which is the next generation of MSN® Messenger, the most widely used instant messaging service with more than 230 million customers worldwide, includes customer-driven feature enhancements that make it even easier for consumers to stay in touch with the people and information that matter most to them. Windows Live Messenger was previously available for beta testing by invitation only. The beta also makes PC-to-phone calling available in six additional markets...

Some features include the following:

Windows Live Call with Verizon Web Calling service. With one click, users can go directly to the Windows Live Call feature and, through the Verizon Web Calling service, place affordable outbound local voice calls and domestic or international long-distance voice calls over the Internet..

Cordless phones designed exclusively for Windows Live Messenger. Beginning today, customers will be able to purchase phones from companies such as Uniden Corp. and Philips that make Windows Live Call available through the handset, which can be used to make landline and Internet phone calls. 

Windows Live Contacts. Contact information is always current with Windows Live Contacts in Windows Live Messenger; users choose which contacts they want updated automatically. Windows Live Contacts are integrated and accessible across Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail and MSN Spaces.

Unified contacts. Customers now have the ability to see and search all their contacts with the unified contact list accessible through Windows Live Messenger. Users can have up to 600 contacts, and easily search using the word wheel feature, which automatically sorts the contact list.

Sharing Folders. By simply dragging and dropping their files and personal photos of any size to their Windows Live Messenger window, customers can share them with family, friends and colleagues.

Offline instant message (IM). Customers can now send an IM to their offline contacts, who will receive the IM the next time they log in.

Video conversation. The free synchronized audio and video service in Windows Live Messenger, powered by Logitech International SA, allows customers to view and talk to their friends through their PCs in full-screen video with one push of a button using the webcams and broadband Internet connections.

I didn't work on any of the major features in this release except for Social Networking which isn't widely available yet and thus is omitted from the press release. By the way, the Friends List (the PR name of the social networking feature) is now available to our users from the Netherlands as well as Australian users. At this rate, I guess we'll have it rolled out worldwide by Christmas...JUST KIDDING!!! ;)

The next major release of Windows Live Messenger will have more features that I managed to get my hands on. At this rate, people may stop mistaking me for someone who works on the MSN Spaces team. 


 

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 11:09:04 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
One new 'feature' seems to be to ignore the user's default browser settings and force IE to open on any link.

Why does MSFT always pull this stuff?
Eric Finchley
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