Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Windows Live Messenger build 566

Screenshot of the Windows Live Messenger build 566 buddy window As you may know I’m beta-testing Windows Live Messenger (no, I don’t have any more invitations, sorry), and just recently a new build was posted which has seem so more major changes to the interface. ActiveWin has screenshots of the earlier builds.
The new look is far more consistent with MSN Messenger 7.x, and though it retains the ability to search for contacts in the buddy list window it loses a lot of the big new features in previous builds. Tabs are now always in the window instead of floating outside it, and the quick link icons no longer appear under highlighted contacts. It also feels less chunky and looks better on smaller resolutions – on my 1024×768 laptop screen I could at least see most of my contacts. The big advertising banner is still there, of course.
The new icons for the windows also appear to have disappeared in favour of the old icons from MSN Messenger – not sure how I feel about that because I liked the new icons and they matched the Windows Vista / IE7 look much better. It may be an XP thing though and the icons in Vista are different.
Screenshot of the Windows Live Messenger build 566 chat window Overall I do like the new look – it matches in with the clean look of the other Windows Live projects, and feels more trim. I’m guessing a lot of the feedback from the earlier beta builds was that the new look was too much of a departure and that Microsoft were fixing something that wasn’t necessarily broken.
Stability wise I’ve had no problems – Greg has experienced some crashes but I’ve not been able to reproduce those here. I haven’t yet used the voice or video features yet, but I was able to play Minesweeper Flags with one of Hari’s housemates with no problems. Memory usage is a bit high but equivalent to a reasonably trim installation of Thunderbird or Firefox; moreso than Trillian Pro with 5 network connections though. There are also lots of references to ‘Messenger 8.0 Beta’ so I’m not sure if the ‘Windows Live Messenger’ name is final, however all the branding is all for Windows Live.
Update: Greg’s got his own review here, which, if anything, proves that the discussion shown in the screenshot actually happened.

4 Comments

  1. Windows Live Messenger 8 and Cross Posting Shenenigans…

    A new build of the Windows Live Messenger 8 beta came out today and I’ve had a tiny bit of trouble with it crashing when trying to close the main contact window, but that aside, it looks ok… ok, ok-ish.

  2. It wouldn’t let me signin unless I installed the newer version, which is not good. I installed it, although it’s an improvement over the original beta it’s still bad. I reverted back to 7.5

  3. I too have noticed the difference in this build. It is much better than the last and 7.5 .

  4. I’m also on the beta (and I do have some invitations….) and I’m not a fan of this latest build – it’s taken out some of the best features of the previous one – notably the “expanding” contact list view – this should (IMO) have been made optional rather than removed altogther.
    I understand from the Live Messenger Blog that the graphics aren’t final – they reverted to the MSN 7 icons as there were complaints that you couldn’t tell the difference between away and busy with the newer look as a “quick fix” for this beta.