Microsoft Corp. is making the new Windows Live Messenger beta available broadly to the public for download at the Windows Live Ideas Web site. The beta of Windows Live Messenger is the next generation of MSN Messenger, an instant messaging service adopted by more than 230 million users worldwide.
The public beta release of Windows Live Messenger has a fresh look and feel, with easy personalization, including a toolbar that provides one-click access to favorite services.
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. Service is already offered to Messenger customers in five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. As of next week, this calling service will be available in localized languages and currencies for six new markets including Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands.
Cordless phones designed exclusively for Windows Live Messenger will be available for purchase, allowing Windows Live through the handset, which can be used to make landline and Internet phone calls. Consumers can use their cordless phones from anywhere in the home, even while away from the PC. Manufacturers such as Uniden Corp. and Philips will start offering these handsets to the public.
In addition to voice calls, a free synchronized audio and video service in Windows Live Messenger, powered by Logitech International SA, allows customers to view and talk to friends through their PCs in full-screen video over broadband Internet connections.
Also new is the Windows Live Contacts features, which allows users to choose which contacts they want updated automatically. Windows Live Contacts are integrated and accessible across Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail and MSN Spaces.
The Sharing Folders feature provides a simple drag and drop inteface to share files and personal photos of any size with family, friends and colleagues.
Customers can now send an IM to their offline contacts, who will receive the IM the next time they log in.