Windows Live Messenger is set to receive a major revamp, and “social” will be its main highlight. With social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter getting more popular than ever, it appears that the Windows Live team at Microsoft will integrate these social sites and blogging platforms such as WordPress into its upcoming Windows Live Messenger, beyond its current chat functionality. The latest leaked screenshots of Windows Live Messenger 2010 Beta or better known as Wave 4 have started surfacing on the web showing its improved interface and some new impressive social features.
From the screenshot above taken by Chinese site cnbeta, the “Social” view allows users to “connect” to Windows Live and Facebook, including Twitter and WordPress. As both Twitter and WordPress do not support IM services, it is too early to determine how Windows Live Messenger will be “linked” with the two platforms. It could be similar to the current Web Activities after all. Meanwhile, the middle section which features video messages suggests a possible integration with Windows Live Video Messages — a service that harnesses the use of a webcam to send video messages online to users’ contacts. As well as this there is also a geo-tagging support for Windows Live Photos hosted on SkyDrive — a free service that provides easy storage and sharing of files and photos with almost anyone. Users will then be able to view photos on a map, probably Bing Maps.
Now to “Friends” view, it functions similarly to the current “Contact List” view and the only difference is that it comes with a sleeker interface. It enables you to view all your contacts and sort them into categories based on their interests, details, Messenger status, and more. And contacts are listed in four columns, which makes finding specific friends to chat with much easier than before, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of contacts. One feature that came to my attention is the “Find people with Bing” text on the search bar located at the top right hand corner. Maybe the folks over at Bing are working to index Facebook and Windows Live profiles more efficiently.
For those who prefer to stick to only the chat functionality instead, you can always revert back to the classic and more compact contact list pane. The social version, which provides some great and seamless integration with other Windows Live services and social networking websites, is geared towards those who want all their social networking accounts (currently only supporting Facebook and Twitter) all in one place.
The Windows Live Messenger 2010 for Windows OS will be launched alongside with the new MacOSX version in the next couple of months.