The next version of Microsoft’s instant messaging app, part of ‘Wave 4’ of the Windows Live services, evolves into “a companion for your social networks” but unfriends XP.
Microsoft is amping up its popular IM app to go way beyond chat sessions and smileys.
of the forthcoming edition of Windows Live Messenger – officially version 15, but tagged as Windows Live Messenger 2010 – ties into social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with a single unified contact list and the ability to see updates and post your own from within the one app.
Windows Live Messenger 2010 transforms from being a chat program into a social networking hub
(and yes, it's ironic that the advert in the bottom-right corner is for a Palm Pre!)
Selected users become your ‘most favourite’ people and their updates will be given priority over others. Users can also share Web sites and even search results with their IM contacts and run HD video chats in full screen (provided PCs at either end of the connection have suitable Webcams and sufficient bandwidth).
Also on the feature list: tabbed chat windows, slick new emoticons plus one-click access to shared photos, videos and Office documents from the Windows Live SkyDrive cloud.
A public beta is expected to be released mid-year before the final version launches along with the rest of the Windows Live ‘Wave 4’ push by years’ end.
Microsoft has also confirmed that it will release a Windows Live Messenger app for the iPhone and iPad. Windows XP failed to make the cut list, however – the PC software will run only on Vista and Windows 7.