Windows Live Messenger 2010 revealed

We promised you a look at Windows Live Messenger 2010 earlier this week when we revealed Microsoft is planning both Bing and Messenger iPhone applications next year.

Thanks to an anonymous tipster we received several screenshots of Microsoft's upcoming Messenger client due in 2010. We have confirmed these to be genuine and they offer a small insight into what the software giant is planning for Wave 4 of Windows Live.

Firstly the main Messenger window that contains your contacts has changed somewhat. Included on the left hand side is a "social stream" of updates provided by Windows Live. These are updates from your Messenger contacts and the data is provided by Windows Live. In current public Messenger builds some of this integration is present at the top of a conversation window. Windows Live Messenger aims to add to this by using the "social stream" as a showcase for your contacts updates. Providing your friends have included their Facebook, Twitter and Blog posts into Windows Live then you will see this in the stream.

One of the main improvements for Windows Live Messenger 2010 is the introduction of tabbed messenger conversations. Users have been requesting this functionality for years and Microsoft has finally listened and built this in.

Other improvements in Messenger 2010 are unknown but the introduction of tabbed messenger conversations will please many. Windows Live Writer Wave 4 has also been improved with the introduction of the ribbon interface seen in most other Windows Live applications.

Many are hopeful for some Wave 4 announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and we are expecting some focus on Windows Live during the event. We're expecting Microsoft to make a public beta of the Wave 4 bits during the first quarter of 2010.

Reminder: These are likely to be shots from early builds so may not reflect the final UI.

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can someone explain to me why Microsoft is putting advertisements on their messenger series? i mean don't they understand that this is not 1997 and that there are plenty of other alternatives that people can use... make a good product without shuffling down our throats your advertisements and build up your brand name. right now Microsoft brand name still stands for a bunch of 1997 backward executives who think they own the world. WAKE UP Microsoft!!! And don't tell me that you are short on cash and that you need that advertisement revenue.

Didn't they say that there would be a client that wouldn't be so damn bloated and crappy looking for businesses/workstations? I HATE the new WLM, infact I'll do everything in my power to keep 8.5 working as it's the most clean cut version that's still operational with all the patches and everything.

WLM 2009/2010 is just a bad idea. It gets slower and slower, everything gets bigger and more annoying to use. Way to go MS, not listening to your userbase.

Eh? WLM 2009 is heaps better than 8.1! after you turn all the crap you don't need off, it's fantastic. It is by far not bloated or slow and running in Win7 it is even better

Xerxes said,
Eh? WLM 2009 is heaps better than 8.1! after you turn all the crap you don't need off, it's fantastic. It is by far not bloated or slow and running in Win7 it is even better (Y)

2009 is a bloat fest with what can only be described as an abortion of UI design / layout. Bring back 8.5 .

As Kirkburn pointed out, there will most likely be an option to turn the 'social news' stream off if some of you do not find it beneficial. It'd be silly not to provide that option. They do with the current 'What's New' section in Windows Live Messenger 2009. Turning that off would get the contacts list looking similar to how it does now.

Besides, most of that image is blurred out - it is missing the display picture, display name, personal status message (although shows the box to post one), all the contact's details, the details of friends in the stream etc. You cannot see exactly how it would look in a usual situation with all of that blurred out. It's still nice to see though to get an idea of what the final product may look like :)

I think this is a great improvement and can't wait to see the changes made when it is finally released

Wow that really looks hidious!!

Why can't they have the 'social stuff' in a tab that can run behind the messenger list.

And this seems like an excuse to make a really huge ad!

It's time MS makes WLM Lite, and base it off v3.6 or 4.0 which we all loved. I still can't move to other alternatives such as Pidgin (too many font problems), or Digsby (equally ugly as WLM 9.0), so I stick with WLM 8.5 a-patched heavily.

Can i the Live Stream on the right hand side?

Anyway , i think it is time for someone else to challenge WLM in the IM market. It is very obvious that they dont do much where there is no one completing with them.

I'm looking forward to this new version. It looks a bit like the Zune software (which is good). Just download a patch to get rid of the ad and it's twice as good!

OK, some more constructive feedback after the first WTF...

The screenshots definitely give little context and I understand this is an early build. Someone who I'm sure played with the actual software agrees the screenshots look like crap, but says the real experience is much better (http://twitter.com/SiebeTolsma/status/6538209519), so that gives some hope. The screenshots don't show that much either, and the parts we do see are heavily edited for obvious reasons.

Having that said, what's wrong with the small part we do see?

* Huge ad
This is definitely my biggest complaint. The advertisement on the contacts list is huge, there's no excuse for an ad that big in software which runs on my desktop. You can pull of ads that size on a site, not in software. The ad in the current version already is big enough as it is, keep it that same size or smaller. Even if that ad would not be there all the time, but shows up at certain intervals, it's still too intrusive and taking up too much precious pixels.


* Oversized fonts
Several texts are too big, again wasting precious pixels which are limited on a desktop. Keep n mind most people have their contacts list open on the side of their desktop during most of the time. The bigger the contacts list window gets, the less usable the application.
- 'Other Contacts' should have the same size as in the old (2009) version.
- 'Social/Friends/Highlights/Recent' should be the same size as 'All/Available/Other Contacts/Blocked'.
- 'Xxx updated Twitter' should be the same size as the names of the contacts on the right.
- The actual twitter message is blanked out, but shouldn't be much bigger than the name of contacts either.


* Social stream next to contacts list is odd
The way the social stream is displayed next to the contacts list doesn't makes the window unnecessary big. I assume the button in the upper-right corner hides the social stream. Hopefully the social stream is hidden by default, but it could be implemented better. I understand you need to be able to scroll through both lists individually, but having a scrollbar in the middle is odd. Do that many people want to watch their contacts list and the social stream at the same time? Why not have a button to just switch between the contacts list and the social stream. So it would either show the left side, or the right side of what we see in the screenshot, not both in a huge window.

The tabbed chats feature is nice, and about time. The screenshot does show four layers, but even in Messenger 2009 the menu bar was always hidden by default, and the action bar (Files/Video/Call/etc.) can be hidden if you want. I imagine tabbed chats can be disabled completely if you want.

The 'Connected to .. | Add' on the lower-right of the contacts list is interesting. I *think* it connects to other social networks, not other IM networks. Purely speculating, but it shows the Windows Live icon, not the Messenger icon, which would hint more at the social network aspect. Adding the social stream and the bigger 'Share something new' box to that I think they are more focused on integrating other social networks than other instant messaging networks. It would however be great if we were able to talk to AIM/GTalk/Skype contacts from inside Messenger.

WLM is getting uglier and uglier with every new release - one of the main reasons that I have even quit using the protocol, not only the application.

Is it so hard to develop a small and simple looking application that does its job without all the bling?
Yes, Pidgin is nice, but developers have somewhat forgot about MSN protocol.

Although they're early screen shots, it looks like they're mimicking the home.live.com feel, which won't be too bad if they can tighten it up.
Here's hoping that the next wave has better support for keyboard shortcuts, especially the Mail app.
Aren't they doing some sort of Sync update for this Wave?

neowin likes to toot its own horn alot they claim to have Exclusives on alot of stuff some of us have had for a while now lol

spain08 said,
Exclusive? -.-''

WLM BETA Posible Build: (15.0.5000.900)

Microsoft Certified Professional.


wow!!! what is that?! :O

aarste said,
And WLM still occupies 2 thumbnails that both open the same thing. Sigh.

Has it been released as a final version yet? No. Things like that could still change

Nice try, but sorry, that's fake. The left most and right most corners of thumbnail toolbar icons are curved in Windows 7. Those are square. Its fake.

Nidonocu said,
Nice try, but sorry, that's fake. The left most and right most corners of thumbnail toolbar icons are curved in Windows 7. Those are square. Its fake.

No, this is real, Spain08 is a trusted Microsoft Certified Pro and Microsoft often customizes their products to look better then the rest, having the thumbnail toolbar icons square matches the icons inside them, therefore improving the visuals.

Good God, that must be the ugliest software Microsoft has put out ever!!! I really hope it is not released in that form, what in the world is that? WLW looks good, but that Messenger oh man.... I'm shocked.

These kind of IM apps that revolve around 1 service are next to useless to anyone who IMs. Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, etc. need to realize that most people don't have all their friends on 1 network. I personally like Digsby (sans-adware).

Guys, I'm sure the contacts list can be displayed without the social stream. Check the icon at the top right - it probably collapses the view.

Why do we need ribbon in messenger? It's just going to increase the vertical height of the bloody conversations, and all for just probably 3-4 shortcuts.

I'm glad I don't use messenger anymore, i think I was using messenger at the best around version 6. Maybe I got too old....

What this program lacks is an objective. First and foremost this is an IM app. It should cater to the people who wants to im, and then everything else should be optional/secondary and somewhat gently disguised in the ui. I don't object to a twitter reader in WLM but taking up more space then the contact list doesn't make any sense.

I miss MSN Messenger 5. The good old days, when things simple and it was about chatting and sending files from one end to another.

This is just awful. From those screen shots, I have literally nothing positive to say about it. The tabbed conversation window is something we've wanted for a while, but why make it look like that? Getting rid of the file, edit menu and integrating it with the conversation window would be so much better.

Wha's going on with Microsoft and all the advertising stuff. I realise that they want to tap into Google-type ad revenue and I'm fine when it's on the internet but getting it into products is a complete pain in the ass.

Have any of you looked at the Xbox 360 dashboard recently? The thing is a freaking billboard now. The Community and Spotlight channels are crammed solid with the stuff. Yesterday I had WalMart, Telus and Subway all sharing billing on there on the Spotlight channel. The Community channel, I had facebook as the first option, twitter as the fourth and various ads in between. It's getting to be nigh-unusable.

I have no problems with Ads for stuff I can buy ON THE XBOX, but I'm a gold subscriber. I finance the system. I shouldn't have to deal with this.

That Ad block is way too big. Microsoft - You're doing it wrong here.

Surely you can't expect them to not implement a practical feature such as tabbed messaging just because another IM is doing it...

There's too much missing information in these screenshots, I mean, they were edited way too much by the news poster (white rectangle + gray rectangle + neowin logo + crop). It adds to the bloat, WLM is certainly not as bad. If we could see the original pictures, the reactions on this news would be slightly different.

But STILL, I try to look at the picture and imagine the whole thing without these edits... it's one of the worst interfaces I've seen in years. I have actually no idea how the ribbon is implemented into this, and don't like the way adding tabs automatically made WLM resemble Internet Explorer 8... but at least it's consistent. The main window, split in 2 parts... scrollbar in the middle and scrollbar on the right, and just the fact that the left part doesn't fit in... ugh.

I hope this will make all of my friends switch to something else than MSN. Getting tired here...

Yes, I agree, the edits definitely contribute to the poor look of it, but still... That window size. The size of the live feed text. The size of the ad. :(

And as you say, the crazy UI design. The Twitter updates are given 50% of the window area, so UI-wise, this is no longer an IM app, but a 50/50 combination of IM and live feed reader. Is that the intention, or should the live feed updates be scaled back to simply a small box at the bottom of the IM window to fade in the most recent news as they're available? No more scroll bar, no more huge area. They could simply combine the Twitter support into the already existing live update support of Windows Live Messenger. The stuff about recent friend profile updates. Why not just sneak in the Twitter updates there as well, with a checkbox to enable it in the preferences?

And what's really going on with the message window?

Now it has four layers.

A window title.
A tab bar.
A menu bar.
A tool bar.

To write short text messages to your buddies and share photos/cam/audio.

W. T. F.

Xilo said,
Well, thankfully we have people creating patches to get rid of all the crap in messenger. :/

Yes, the APatch dev will have his hands full with this one. :S

I just feel sorry for those not aware of that, running a 700x700 pixel behemoth.

I just hope the UI doesn't "break" once I remove the large and unnecessary advertisement. Tabbed messaging is a plus, and it's about time they added it. I hope they added an option to use the 'current Window colour' (like Windows Live Mail). It matches whatever colour you're using for Aero in Windows Vista/7.

That ad isn't huge at all. :D

Haha and...

TOM UPDATED TWITTER!!!


TOM UPDATED TWITTER!!!


TOM UPDATED TWITTER!!!

*sigh*

It probably looks worse now that some info has been removed for privacy reasons, but still. :S

Just remember we can use apatch(genius ahmad :)) etc to get rid of the excessive pointless advertising and unnecessary rubbish in it

What is the "Connected to" and "Add" at the bottom of the contact list window? Please tell me they are finally supporting multiple protocols (AIM please?)

I noticed that too! I initially thought it might be for signing into more than one Windows Live account at a time, but multi protocol would be awesome. I'd really love to be able to log into AIM via Messenger.

That looks beyond awful. But I'm sure there'll be a MESS patch or something similar to allow removing most of that bloat.

/hugs Digsby and Adium

Is it still an IM client at this point? With the integration of social network (Twitter and Cie), it does much more that IM and I don't really need that...

sponex said,
I would like to point out it is a prerelease version. So the final UI will look a little bit Diff.


+1. When will people get it that this is a pre-release version and the UI will change before the final release.

I hope you guys realize that the screenshot of Messenger all stretched out is probably just for illustrative purposes only (ie showing off some of the new stuff). There is no way that view can't be changed.

theyre too busy trying to intergrate everything into everything, i hope theres an alternative layout for people who dont use all this stuff, or prefer to just use their web browser for social networking.

Funny thing for me was that I used to joke that one day MSN would become so fat that it would occupy half your screen estate. Thank god I ditched the app. If I wish to actually go on the mess of a network, I use Adium on the mac. Far more polished, and clean.

Bring back ICQ! :(

Wow. I loved the look of the current release, but this clearly sloppy and VERY unnattractive. What the hell is with the HUGE ad?

Actually tabbed conversations are quite useful, whats the point of having multiple converstion windows open when you could just put them into tabs within the one window.

It's not new, Messenger Plus has had this feature for years.

neo158 said,
Actually tabbed conversations are quite useful, whats the point of having multiple converstion windows open when you could just put them into tabs within the one window.

It's not new, Messenger Plus has had this feature for years.

It's great unless you are like me, and like to have several windows open over the screen so I can see what one person is saying while talking to another..

With Windows 7 and/or Exposé(or some clone), tabbed windows are quite obsolete. The OS has built in window switching within the application.

Like Ryoken said, its easier to follow several conversations at once and it's also one step less to switch between conversations.

not keen on facebook and twitter included in windows live messenger. Plenty other applications for them which are better. I'd like it to be as simple as it is now with just tabbed convos would be good. If anything hopefully they enable us to be able to get rid of that ugly side bar

Pabs(Sco) said,
OMG! Horrible!

Maybe time to ditch Live Messenger....

Maybe when you actually have it in your hands, rather than a screenshot of a beta?

Well, he did say "maybe." Hopefully you can not have all of that crap on your messenger window though. That's.... a bit much.

If tabbed messaging supports 7's Aero Peek like the tabs in IE, then I'm all for it! I hate that social stream though.

All I want is a contact list, maybe with groups, but I'm not too bothered, and a tabbed conversation pane.

Why do they have to add all this Social Stream crap! And the advertising is horrible

I'm not impressed.. Why do they keep trying to add more ?
I hate Tabbed Messaging.
I hate that Sidebar crap on the Main Window in the first screenshot.

This better be all optional stuff. Messenger already has enough waste with that photo sharing ( rather than just send the image as a file like I want ) and other nonsense that just gets in the way of it being fast and effective.

I'm with you on everything you've said. This looks... terrible right now. Hope they release a public beta to gain some good feedback.

I just hope as Skype that have a compact version.

It looks to bloated for my taste, even the actual version if to bloated.

Yes... it does look bloated...

I hope i don't have to upgrade my processor and RAM just to run Windows Live Messenger 2010...

Hopefully tabbed conversations is optional. I find it useful somewhat but I have always reverted back to the individual windows. I just find it easier to manage, it's easy to forget about someone when your in tabbed messaging. The screenshots look fugly though, maybe because their not very well taken but looking at this, I prefer 09.

I hope you can make the Messenger tabs be on the side of the conversation.

Like in Messenger Plus you can have them at the top or on the left hand side.

I prefer the left hand side as I don't have to have the conversation so wide.

Can we please have a less cluttered MSN kinda like back in 2002? no tabs, no groups just sorted by status.
Honestly i really hope that since this is a beta there will be considerable changes to what we see now.

Lots of people use the group feature.
Current messenger allows you to sort by status if you want - Groups are optional and always have been.

Yeah as above you can group by status (I do). You can also remove the tabs in the current version that appear on the main windows (don't know how they will work in 2010 but for the chat pane)

UI looks clean which I like, similar to the Zune, less icons and dropdowns. As for social features, don't really go near that in Windows Live.

InsaneNutter said,
Hope the new contact list is optional, I prefer it to be small.

Very interesting article.

I think the top right icon collapses it.

Wow, what a friggin rip off. The "Social Stream" is a direct rip off of AIM's "Lifestream" and tabbed messaging? Big woop. I may have criticized AOL for some really lame decisions lately, but this is ridiculous. This isn't innovative at all.

And how big is that damn ad? Wow. I hope all the people who bitch and moan about AIM's ad do the same for this, cause this one takes up half the main window.

Changes don't always need to innovate. I don't know what were you expecting, but I will surely welcome those features.

However, that "social stream" doesn't look good. I would prefer to see a stream for each contact. They can add a context menu and show the updates in a separate window or tab, as they already are implementing them.

bangbang023 said,
Wow, what a friggin rip off. The "Social Stream" is a direct rip off of AIM's "Lifestream"...


Actually, it's the other way around. Windows Live integrated the social stream into it's services in December 2008. AIM launched Lifestream in July 2009.

This is just making it more prominent in Messenger.

Menthix said,
WTF is that first screenshot? Let's hope it's fake.

Yeah hope so.

Live Messenger 2010? Should be renamed to Live Advertiser. The advertisement takes up more space than the contact list. rofl.

Menthix said,
WTF is that first screenshot? Let's hope it's fake.

makes me apreciate trillian and digsby more and more
the last WLM release was pretty ugly, and this is just horrid

Well I guess it does look *slightly* worse with all the information they've blanked out to keep who ever made the screenshot secret... then they go leave his name in the exif data :P

fobban said,
Yeah hope so.

Live Messenger 2010? Should be renamed to Live Advertiser. The advertisement takes up more space than the contact list. rofl.


Win.

fobban said,
Yeah hope so.

Live Messenger 2010? Should be renamed to Live Advertiser. The advertisement takes up more space than the contact list. rofl.


+1!!!

fobban said,
Yeah hope so.

Live Messenger 2010? Should be renamed to Live Advertiser. The advertisement takes up more space than the contact list. rofl.

Who cares about the ad lol, Its called Apatch lol

Menthix said,
WTF is that first screenshot? Let's hope it's fake.

I wish it was fake! - With every version it turns more and more in to a terrible joke.