Windows Live Wave 4 will include a Facebook chat style interface for Windows Live Messenger access across its web services, new screenshots leaked at LiveSide.net show.
We first saw back in January that the header for the next generation of web-based Windows Live services would include Web Messenger integration, allowing you to easily set your status and see how many of your contacts are online. Clicking on the link in the header and will load a menu from where you can choose a category and see the status of your contacts.
Enter a term in the search box and it will do an as-you-type-search of your contacts' first names, surnames and email addresses. As with the Wave 3 version of Web Messenger (which is currently only available through Hotmail and People) clicking on your name in the top-right corner brings up a menu where you can change your status. Now, however, you can also send messages whilst appearing offline and receive message that were sent to you when you were not signed in.
Clicking on a contact opens a chat window. Unlike the Wave 3 version, conversations are no longer in pop-up windows and instead appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen attached to a tabbed conversations bar, in a style slightly reminiscent of Facebook chat but more modelled around the tabbed conversations style in the upcoming Windows Live Messenger Wave 4 client. Conversations can also be minimised to show just this bar with the first three shown on the bar and any others from a drop-down menu. In addition, the bar and conversation boxes can be dragged around the window to the position you want them in.
Emoticons can easily be added from the drop-down menu in the chat box and you can even take part in conversations with multiple contacts - although this has to be initiated by a contact using the desktop client. It is also worth noting that there will be a setting to turn the Web Messenger feature off completely for those that don't want to use it. Finally, because this service will be available across a range of Windows Live web-based activities, the new Windows Live ID sign-in page gives you the option to choose your status when you sign-in.