MSN Messenger 7.0 just released. Come and get it.
"MSN Messenger 7.0 will also introduce the concept of shared search on the IM client. Using integrated MSN Search capability, users will be able to search and share results of search queries while having an IM conversation. According to Holden, MSN did a lot of research into how people use PC-to-PC calls and they specifically looked at upstart VoIP vendor Skype.
...Microsoft claims that over 2.5 billion instant messages currently traverse the MSN Messenger network every day. The service also boasts over 155 million users each month. "
"Spaces hasn't changed all that much from its initial beta release, but there have been two noticeable improvements. You now get 30MB of photo storage space — up from a mere 10MB. Plus, there are now over 50 new "themes" you can use to define your blog's basic look and feel."
"Over 4.5 million people have already signed up for the free service, Microsoft said. "
Update: From Microsoft.com Press Pass:
"Available for download at http://messenger.msn.com, MSN Messenger 7.0 has added new features since its December 2004 public beta release, including these:
- Free PC-to-PC video conversation. The new, free MSN Video Conversation service,1 powered by Logitech technology, connects people with one-click synchronized audio and video, and offers full-screen video viewing - the next best thing to really being there.
- Ability to talk over the Internet for free. MSN Messenger 7.0 includes higher-quality audio functionality so customers can enjoy free,2 real-time PC-to-PC voice conversations with friends and family around the world.
- PC-to-mobile communications. Customers will soon be able to stay in touch by sending IMs to friends and family who aren't on their PC. Customers in selected countries will be able to send SMS text messages from MSN Messenger to mobile phones - even if the person they are sending to doesn't have an MSN Messenger account - and the mobile user can reply to the MSN Messenger user.3 This feature will be available in multiple markets this spring.
- Greater personalization. New personalization options, including Winks, Dynamic Display Pictures and theme packs, help customers show their personality and their mood. Customers can choose from a selection of free content or get premium content from companies such as AG Interactive, the media subsidiary of American Greetings Corp., Wisepost/YNK, 3H Group PTY Ltd., Saw-you.com and Techno Design Internet Programming for a small fee.
- Instant MSN Search capability. MSN Messenger 7.0 offers a Shared Search button in the conversation window so people can find answers instantly through MSN Search while they continue their conversation.
- Photo-sharing options. Customers can have more fun with their friends by sharing photos during a conversation and viewing a slide show together. People can save shared photos and add pictures of their own to the photo swap session.
- Unique presence options. People can now display a personal message alongside their Messenger name and status. The customized message can include a greeting that expresses their mood or show the name of a song the person is listening to on Windows Media® Player "