Microsoft Readies Windows Live Messenger Upgrade

Dennis Faas's picture

Users of Microsoft's popular Windows Messenger will soon notice the company has given the service a dramatic facelift. In a recent preview, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off several of Messenger's new features, ranging from tabbed conversations to high-definition video chat.

"The new Messenger will provide a great way to have more meaningful conversations with the people you care about most while also bringing together your social networks and sharing updates, cutting through the clutter, and staying up to date with your favorite friends," Microsoft noted in a recent statement. (Source:

Messenger Emulates, Integrates With Competition

So, what exactly will the new Messenger offer? Tabbed conversations, like tabbed browser windows in Firefox or Internet Explorer, make it easier for the very popular to move between conversations with the click of a button.

That's handy, but a lot of the attention is being focused on high-definition (HD) video chat. As the popularity of HD cable and Blu-ray goes up, here's one more way for people to see the world through a really, really crisp picture.

Microsoft is also planning to bring its Messenger service closer to social networking giants like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and even LinkedIn. The most important new feature is the Facebook integration -- why? Because, let's face it, social networking sites are rivals for messenger services. (Source:

"As part of our deeper integration with Facebook, later this year Messenger will support Facebook Chat, so you'll be able to [instant message] all your Facebook friends from within Messenger," Microsoft said.

Privacy Settings Expanded Considerably

Windows Messenger, like social networking sites such as Facebook, will also see its privacy settings considerably extended. The service will now offer three unique privacy settings, with Messenger's default option not offering up any personal data at all for the public to see. "Consumers will be able to see exactly what they're sharing with a specific person and what personal information, photos, docs, and other content they have access to," Microsoft added.

Microsoft is currently testing the update and plans to release a beta edition by the end of the summer or early fall.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet