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Windows Live Messenger Beta Refresh

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Neowin reports on and has screenshots of the Windows Live Messenger beta refresh that features a different UI and new features.

I got the email too, so here’s what it says:

Windows Live Messenger Managed Beta Newsletter – February 9, 2006

Hello Managed Beta Testers!

Beta Refresh Now Available!

We are pleased to announce that we are releasing an early version of the beta refresh exclusively to the managed beta testers! Build 0562 is now available on http://connect.microsoft.com. You are the FIRST to get this build and we are primed and ready to receive your feedback.

As part of your beta tester agreement with us we ask that you do not leak this build outside of the Managed beta. We would like to continue to give you exclusive build refreshes in the future and our ability to do so is dependent on them not leaking. If you questions about this policy or if you now of someone violating this agreement, please send mail to wlminfo@microsoft.com.

In this release you will find many changes that were a result of your feedback! Some of what you will see is:

  • New UI design
  • New contact list design (no more hover behavior)
  • A return of the old status icons
  • A Sharing Folders status and progress bar
  • The Sharing Folders activity log is now in a separate window
  • New Voice platform
  • Improved reliability
  • Improved stability
  • Improved performance
  • Improved login performance

Happy Testing!

So, how does build 0562 compare with build 365 (the old one)?

Well, the UI is the only change most people will notice:

The old UI:

So, while I like that you can now choose a color for the entire interface (yes, those aren’t the default colors, just the ones I chose), the new interface may be cleaner, but the old interface was more polished and friendly. In terms of “the little details”, the interface almost seems to have taken a few steps backwards.

I’m guessing that they are trying a different approach to the interface, and wanted to push out a quick build that uses it to see what people think. The old interface was being worked on for longer, and they weren’t going to put all that work into the new one until they saw how it went over. That’s a guess.

Anyway, development seems to be progressing well. As far as I know, you’ll only get this version if you’re in the beta, not if you get a beta invite.

As for invites, I have 9. First 9 comments get them.

Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

Visit the InsideGoogle blog.

Windows Live Messenger Beta Refresh
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