The Windows Live Team is currently working on Wave 4, that is, the 2010 versions of Windows Live. This includes both web services and Windows Live Essentials. Let’s take a closer look at Windows Live Messenger 2010 Milestone 1, as recently discovered by the technology news site Neowin. We can expect the final result to look somewhat different, but what we’re going to look at gives you an idea what the focus is on in the 2010 version.
First of all, we notice that the window is now wider and separated into two columns. The left column contains social news and activity streams, including the What’s New Feed, while the right-hand section includes your Windows Live Messenger contact list and an advertisement area. This window split can be reverted using the button on the top right edge.
Several details are interesting:
The personal message claim has changed from “Share a quick message” to “Share something new.” This implies that the text you enter is not only set to be your personal message, but also sent to social websites and used as your status text there.
There are several streams shown, including the What’s New Feed. It is split into a “highlights” section and a timeline, “recent.” The menu design of these streams resembles Microsoft Zune-style.
More networks addable
Looking at the bottom right corner, we see: “Connected to: Windows Live | Add.” Whether you can add more IM networks there or whether you can use it to connect to social networks like Facebook or Twitter, remains to be seen.
Contact list revamped
We still see the same square status indicators and the same wavy default scene, but there are overall less icons and more text indicators. Take a quick look at the menu bar above the contacts—we see the category filters and an Add menu.
Bigger advertisement area
Instead of the flat ad area in Messenger 2009, we have a huge ad there in the format 300×250 pixels. I wonder whether that generates more revenue, or what the decision was about.
Image courtesy LiveSino.net, Early design draft
We waited for it for ages, now we get it: Chat windows are tabbed. No more 7 independent windows to handle with, but one with 7 tabs. Other chat clients had this function for long, and for years it was Messenger Plus! Live that added tabs to Messenger. In fact, the tabs design reminds me of Internet Explorer.
Several expected elements are missing in these previews. For example, Live Mesh is expected to integrate into Windows Live SkyDrive, and along with Office Web Apps, file and document sharing should be a visible part of Messenger as well.
Windows Live Messenger is going through the same metamorphosis that Internet Explorer has gone through. With IE, this phase had started some years ago when the IE team got up and started development of Internet Explorer 7. Suddenly all interesting features that other browsers had, became part of IE as well. With Messenger it is the same: It all started with Windows Live Wave 3, and Wave 4 continues this. Strange, isn’t it?