Thanks to Tech-Critic.com tonight an early build of MSN Explorer 9.0 leaked onto the internet. The build compiled on the 17th of June with the build number 9.00.0006.1700 and is still very similar to MSN Explorer 8 and 8.5.
Promised features revealed to Neowin from sources close to MSN are an anti pop-up blocker, tight intergration with Windows Explorer, Alerts intergrated into Dashboard and a Traffic Report summary intergrated into the dashboard. Neowin has obtained a copy of MSN9 and we installed it for review purposes. From the start setting up MSN9 the installer is focussed on "MSN Family". MSN Family and MSN Personal are the two old names for the new tiers of MSN 9. The new tiers will be called MSN Plus and MSN Premium. The idea behind the changes is so that the premium service will include more software for the MSN 9 subscription.
Included in this build is the pop-up blocker, alerts intergrated into the dashboard but the traffic report summary and Windows Explorer intergration is lacking at the moment. Apart from the addition of better parental controls, a popup blocker and dashboard tweaks there isn't a huge difference from MSN8 itself or MSN8.5. For the future of MSN9, there is a new feature that currently doesn't respond to user interaction. It seems users will be able to customize MSN Explorer better than ever, with the ability to remove any or all of the big top level buttons. It seems Microsoft is being more flexible with their current versions of MSN8, with 8.5 allowing users to specify their own homepage. Mail support has been improved with the addition of backing up and exporting/importing mail to and from MSN9 and flags marking when a user has recieved mail from someone outside of their address book.
Screenshots removed, requested by Microsoft