Back in May 2010, the Windows Live team published an update for Windows Live Essentials 2009 (Wave 3). It introduced stability fixes as well as a simplification of the webcam feature. Back then, the discussion about this changed feature was immense.
Until now, this Wave 3 update (build number 14.0.8117) was optional. This is going to change soon: The update will be forced on all users of Windows Live Essentials 2009. Piero Sierra, the Group Program Manager for Windows Live, announced:
This Messenger update simplifies how you start a video call from within Messenger pre-2011. Rather than individually managing your and your friend’s webcam feeds and audio, you can now start a video call just by clicking the “Video” button in the conversation window or by clicking the webcam icon. Also, you can more easily make video calls to your friends who do not have webcams, controlling the audio for both you and your friend by clicking the speaker and microphone icons.
This minor update is going live within the next week and rolls out in 48 languages. It does not force you to install Windows Live Essentials 2011 however.