|Posted by Laura Blackwell
Tuesday, May 09, 2006, 07:01 AM (PST)
It's alive! The beta of Windows Live Messenger, the next generation of MSN Messenger, is now available in public beta. If you've been one of the private beta testers, you've got lots of company now. (And if you'd rather not switch to beta software, don't fret: MSN Messenger 7.5 remains available.)
I've been playing with the WLM beta, which bears a strong resemblance to MSN Messenger 7.5. Since PC World liked MSN Messenger 7.5 in our instant messenger roundup, that's a good thing by me. Overall, WLM's looks subtler, with its smaller icons and softer, less arresting colors. A search box makes finding your contacts online a little bit easier. You can nickname your contacts, too, so you can call them by…er, whatever you usually call your friends and co-workers.
Of the new features, the one that sticks out the most for me is the Sharing Folders feature. It's a very simple drag-and-drop file sharing method that gives you updates on files as they upload. Its activity log lets you see what files have gone into that folder. You can integrate your antivirus software to scan files in it, if you like. A dialog box also warns you about sharing anything that might be copyrighted material.
If any of you are using the Windows Live Messenger beta, tell PC World what you think of it. Do you like it better than MSN Messenger? Worse? Or is it about the same to you?