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Future MSN Messenger features revealed!
dwergs says ( 29 Jul 2005 ):
"I think Messenger—of all the products that get released out to the Web, you've seen faster innovation in MSN Messenger than anyone else's equivalent or any type of online thing. So that has been very fruitful for us as MSN Messenger is driven to number one market share," top dog Bill Gates proudly said yesterday at the Financial Analyst Meeting 2005 held at the Microsoft HQ in Redmond. One hundred and seventy five million customers (the current number of active MSN Messenger users) can't be wrong!
In a first-ever demo exclusive to the meeting's invitees, Blake Irving from the MSN Communication Services and Member Platform Group showed a couple of new features on the way for MSN Messenger. At this time it is still uncertain whether they will be added to MSN Messenger 7.5 currently in BETA or a higher version later on.
One of these features is a special file folder you can share with your contacts, much easier than the already available File Sharing activity. The shared folder will also be updated for all contacts involved as soon as documents are edited or added by an individual.
Furthermore and in an effort to fight the recent IM worm plague, Microsoft is planning to show the virus infection status of your contacts, so you'll know who to safely accept file transfers from or not. A special icon will show the information retrieved from OneCare Live, coming soon to BETA. Microsoft is hoping this built-in feature will skyrocket the use of the new antivirus service much like gleams did with MSN Spaces, the relatively new blog service which already attracts 55 million visitors per month.
Acknowleding the viral power of IM communities, the Redmond-based company is eventually building further on its impressive database of 8 billion contacts (this number, of course, includes duplication). One year ago we already talked about Microsoft's plans to construct a technology similar to social-networking software like Friendster, allowing you to create circles of friends based on specific qualities. Today we can tell you that it's going to be called Friends of Friends and it's expected to be launched this fall.
UPDATE: Overdo just posted more details on the social networking plans. Your circle of friends will be integrated into MSN Spaces, MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger contact cards, and be manageable through a menu called Contact Control. From Jupiter's Microsoft Monitor: "In someone's My Space, there will appear pictures of the friends, which can include friends of other friends. Friends can be added from people known or associated with friends or from MSN Spaces searches. If friends are on MSN Messenger, a special icon indicates so."
Also according to Overdo, MSN Profiles will replace the MSN Member Directory and turn into a content module you can display on your Space. The personal information and the Display Picture stored in your MSN Profile will be shared across all MSN services, but you can create up to four profiles for different groups of people: there's a general profile, a social profile, a personal profile, and a business profile. Finally, with MSN Live Contacts, you can easily update your contact information in one central place.
As always, we'll keep you posted on all these developments!
MSN Messenger for Mac 5.0 on August 9th?
dwergs says ( 28 Jul 2005 ):
After yesterday's disinformation from BetaNews about Hotmail Kahuna we're now extra careful with assuming release dates found on news sites. Today again a Mac-oriented website from The Netherlands posted the release date of MSN Messenger for Mac 5.0, namely August 9th.
The site also adds a previously undisclosed feature to the already known feature list. Apparently, the new Mac version will allow connecting to other protocols, like Yahoo! Messenger and AIM.
We have yet to find the official source of this information, so take it with a grain of salt for the time being. In the meantime, RJT has updated the MSN Messenger for Mac vs Windows comparison table to reflect the new features found in the current BETAs of MSN Messenger 7.5.
[Reported by: Hemmik]
Instant Messaging appeals to young... AND old
dwergs says ( 28 Jul 2005 ):
Teens and Technology, a new report issued by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, proves that online teens are heavy instant messagers, with 75% using IM every day (compared to 42% of online adults). Nearly one-quarter (24%) of the surveyed teens say that Instant Messaging (IM) programs are their primary method of communicating--second only to landline phones, which came in at 52%. Almost half of the teens who instant message do so every day, and 30% send off IMs several times a day.
To them, email is increasingly seen as a tool for communicating with adults such as teachers, institutions like schools, and as a way to convey lengthy and detailed information to large groups. Meanwhile, IM is used for everyday conversations with multiple friends that range from casual to more serious and private exchanges. It is also used as a place of personal expression. Teens also tend to be far more likely than adults to employ the deeper features of the IM programs (think Winks, Custom Emoticons, etc.).
Girls ages 15-17-year-old are the power users of the online teen cohort. Older girls dominate in use of email, IM, text messaging, and selected information-seeking activities: 97% of girls 15-17 have used instant messaging, compared to 89% of younger boys and girls and 87% of older boys.
>> More details on this Pew study in the Press Release and the Report.
On the other hand, more and more seniors are discovering the wonderful world of IM. The Dutch website SeniorWeb is now stimulating older people to get acquainted with MSN Messenger. Even the MSN portal in The Netherlands is supporting the initiative by directing their visitors to the online step-by-step course in chatting via the software.
So teens, watch out, soon you might receive a request from your grandma to add her to your contact list! But at least you won't hear her false teeth chattering while she talks.
>> Download the Course in Chatting with MSN Messenger here (PDF, Dutch).
More details on Dutch MSN Messenger Magazine
dwergs says ( 27 Jul 2005 ):
We already told you about the Dutch-exclusive MSN Messenger Magazine last week. Since then we have obtained more details on the periodical that might interest those of you from The Netherlands intending to buy it. It will be priced €3,95 and appear 10 times per year. The first issue will hit (book and magazine) stores on Thursday, September 29th.
Like we said before, the idea of a paper magazine dedicated to chatting and lifestyle might get adapted by MSN subsidiaries in other countries if this one's succesful.
[Source: Webwereld (Dutch)]
Hotmail to get storage bump, new features today?
dwergs says ( 27 Jul 2005 ):
BetaNews has learned that Microsoft is expected to begin its rollout of the next version of Hotmail, possibly as early as today. Code-named "Kahuna," this version of Hotmail will sport a new style of interface, automatic inbox refreshing and a preview pane that will enable Hotmail users to read and respond to e-mail without ever leaving their inbox.
The announcement could come in tandem with announcements on the betas of Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Vista, both of which are expected to be released sometime Wednesday.
Included with the upgrade is a bump of the storage space for free users to two gigabytes, of which several sources told BetaNews they had seen storage increases in their accounts. The latest version of Hotmail would also include upgrades to Microsoft's Sender ID technology. Sender ID has been pushed by the Redmond company as a way cut down on the number of spam messages and phishing attacks flooding customer inboxes. It has received the backing of companies such as America Online, especially following the company's move to open it up to be compatible with competing anti-spam technologies.
Recognizing that it is behind in several key areas, Microsoft has engineered the next wave of Hotmail, allegedly referred to as the "competitive wave," in a methodical push to meet or exceed the competition.
UPDATE: Mr. Bob forwarded an internal newsgroup post from a Program Manager to me, claiming that the beta-period will definitely last more than a few weeks or even months. I suggest not to hold your breath, then.
UPDATE: Care for some Mail BETA screenshots?
[Original source: BetaNews] [Reported by: Sarge]
Updated: Mess Patch for MSN Messenger 7.5.0160/162 part II
dwergs says ( 25 Jul 2005 ):
Hear, hear! It's the second edition of Mess Patch for the MSN Messenger 7.5 BETA and as promised it works with both 7.5.0160 as 7.5.0162. Not satisfied with just fixing some bugs, Rolando added a requested new feature:
- Now really compatible with both BETAs 7.5.0160 and 7.5.0162.
- "Remove File Transfer Blocked Extensions" is back, for both versions.
- Custom Mess.be Games are back, for both versions as well (big thanks to Koen).
- Mess Patch now remembers chosen options for each version seperately.
- Bugfix: the "Remove Packs Button" and "Remove Nudges Button" have been switched back.
Special thanks to all bug reporters!
>> Download Mess Patch for MSN Messenger 7.5 BETA.
>> Or download it via Mess Patch's internal auto-update.
Updated: Custom Games Installer for MSN Messenger 184.108.40.206
dwergs says ( 24 Jul 2005 ):
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