Friday, October 01, 2004

New MSN Messenger heads to Beta testing
Doesn't it seem like we get a new version 10 times a year? In reality it's not that often, but it sure seems like it!
The software will be made available to selected testers in the U.S., U.K., France, Spain, the Netherlands, and South Korea in what Microsoft calls a "limited beta" test. Then, probably before the end of the year, a public beta version will be released, says Brooke Richardson, lead product manager for MSN at Microsoft
New features include ways to grab a contact's attention, dubbed "winks" and "nudges." Users can now send a sound animation, called a wink, or make the contact's Messenger window vibrate on screen, a nudge.
With MSN Messenger 7.0, Microsoft is also increasing the use of the user's display picture or icon. It will now appear not only in the messaging window but also on the alerts that pop up when a user signs on and at the top of the Messenger client.
Microsoft has also enhanced
MSN Messenger to allow users to set their status before they sign on to the service. A user can select a status such as busy, on the phone, out to lunch, away, or "appear offline" when logging on.
While the beta version includes several new features, it does not have all the features Microsoft has planned for MSN Messenger 7.0, Richardson says.
"This beta is a taste of what will come, but it is not the full meal deal," she says.