Messenger in Hotmail: You got it now?

According to the most recent announcements, Messenger in Windows Live Hotmail is now available for customers in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the US. If you are living in one of these countries, you will now be able to chat with your Messenger contacts directly from your Hotmail inbox. The Hotmail team states:

We’re happy to announce that Windows Live Hotmail is integrating instant messaging capabilities within its web interface. With this functionality, you can get your email and IM all in one place! This feature lets you IM your Windows Live Messenger contacts from within your Hotmail inbox or People page without having to switch over to the Messenger client. […]

Send an instant message from anywhere – With this new feature, you’ll now have instant messaging capabilities when you use a public or otherwise shared computer, without having to download a client program. Already logged in to Messenger elsewhere? Not a problem – you have the option to sign-in (or sign-out) from Hotmail through the “Messenger” drop down menu even if you are signed into the client elsewhere.

You are wondering if your country is not supported? Windows Live Wire comments:

Customers in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and USA will see this feature for the first time today (as usual, rollout to different individuals is gradual, so if you don’t see it yet, please be patient). This feature rolled out to users in France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the UK last month. Not in your area yet? We will be rolling out web-based Messenger to more locations in the coming months.

Getting started with Messenger in Hotmail

Note: This also works if you don’t use Hotmail, but have your own e-mail provider.
  1. Just browse your Messenger contacts.
  2. At the top right, you see an entry “ Messenger”.
  3. Click it, and choose “Sign in to Messenger (Web)”.
  4. Then click any of your contact’s display pictures and choose “Send an instant message”.
  5. A popup window opens, and you can start your conversation.

Some thoughts about the new service

It is a bit strange to see that Messenger in Hotmail is not realized with the new Windows Live Messenger Web Toolkit, which seems to be predestined for such an implementation. You might also notice that the Web Messenger does not support all of Messenger’s core features. Here’s a list of what might be interesting to have:

  • Send and receive Offline messages.
  • Set your display picture easily.
    (I know, you can set it via your Windows Live profile, but that’s a bit complicated.)
  • Change your display name and your personal message easily.
    (Same applies here.)
  • See your contact’s Messenger scenes, and set your own.
    They might get integrated with the Windows Live headers?
  • Send and receive files.
  • Access chat logs.

What do you think of Messenger in Hotmail? Is there anything you miss or would like to have changed?


  1. agree with your thoughts about web im bar (oh course with the themes enhancement at a minimum)

    I not witnessed the March and April version (funny considering most of my accounts are en-gb living in the UK)
    but going on what observed and used in February (so may changed since) even tho it was very short lived!

    needs a better offline and online listing ability.
    This could be a sort by status of the contact list page implement they had then (Feb 09) or something similar to the meebo, facebook, myspace and windows live web im bars

    Store chat logs
    Store not just access chat logs idea but save them under a folder such as ‘My Chats’

    Tabalate popout
    tab the popout.aspx implementation so only need 1 internet browser tab window for multiple chats

    Cross browser support
    Work in Firefox and any browser that is not IE7 (based on Feb 09) Neowin todays report says it supposely works in the ‘main browsers’

    in more detail to your ‘send/ receive files’ suggestion it should send to the friends hotmail or skydrive storage

    emoticons and formatting options needed as those in the client application e.g. bunny is missing along with formatting bold etc

    Since February the follow main idea:
    implement the web im all over Windows Live – the web bar is a good idea to do this [Myspace, Facebook and meebo like]. Settings could be in the windows live headers as what might be what you were suggesting or settings could be on the web bar with display web bar settings in individual services options.

  2. If I have like 7 pages of contacts…Is it that I will have to browse through all of them once to just see who all are online ? in other words, where is the functionality of being able to see contacts status wise, whether they are online or not !

  3. Agree with you Ad. It has to be damn easy to use. Just like google. The only thing missing in hotmail is the simplicity.

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