What began many years ago as Microsoft Messenger and evolved into Windows Live Messenger (or simply, WLM) is now being put to rest. Microsoft has officially announced that Skype will now officially replace Messenger for instant messaging, audio and video calling. As of sometime in the first quarter of 2013, WLM will be shuttered and no longer functional — unless you happen to be located in mainland China (where Skype is verboten, so to speak).
Microsoft purchased Skype in October of 2011 for $8.5 billion, and the consolidation has been anticipated by many. Both Skype and Windows Live Messenger share many of the same features, including instant messaging, and voice- and video-calling. The advantage Skype offers is a clear path to monetization, particularly for expanded features like a dedicated phone number to accept incoming calls, voice mail, and international calling plans.
But what really tilted the scale in favor of Skype is the broad device support. Skype is available on just about anything you can connect to the Internet — Windows, for sure, but Macs, iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, Android, and other devices.
What’s the impact to you?
If you use Windows Live Messenger (or Microsoft Messenger on a Mac), prepare to transition to Skype. Sometime during the first quarter of 2013, your WLM program will no longer connect.
Download and install the latest version of Skype and you’ll see an option to login using your Microsoft account. Use this, not your Skype account.
Next, you’ll be prompted to sign in to your Microsoft account. Use your Windows Live Messenger login information.
Now you have a choice. If you’re already using Skype, you can sync your contacts with an existing Skype account. If you haven’t used Skype yet, first crawl out from under that rock you’ve been hiding under, then select New to Skype. You could also use the “New…” link if you simply don’t want to merge your WLM and your existing Skype accounts.
In my case, I had two Skype accounts, and had to choose one of them to merge my WLM contacts into.
Once you’ve logged into your Skype account, you’re given one last chance to either confirm or cancel the merge. Note that once you’ve merged the accounts, you cannot “unmerge” them.
Once the merge is complete, you’ll see a new Messenger contacts group. Curiously, mine is empty. Hmmm…
Once your accounts are merged, you now sign into Skype using your Microsoft account information (username and password) and not your old Skype account info.
This is where it gets a little screwy. For me, I was unable to sign in to Skype on my iPhone or iPad using my Microsoft account, but my old Skype account info was still working.
On top of that, while my Skype and Facebook contacts were still showing up, my Windows Live Messenger contacts (and the new group) have gone AWOL. Just for kicks, I signed into Microsoft Messenger on my MacBook Pro and it signed me out of Skype. But in Messenger, it shows zero contacts.
Now it’s entirely possible that I didn’t have any contacts in WLM under that account. I haven’t used WLM in ages, and it’s not critical either way. Are there any brave WLM & Skype users out there who want to test this merge process and let me know if it works correctly for them? Leave a comment and let me know!
The Windows Live Essentials beta is now available for download. I’ve had a chance to kick the tires on this one and I must say it’s a nice improvement. While the Essentials download includes such applications as Movie Maker and Photo Gallery – my two favorites are Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Messenger.
Windows Live Writer, as always, is a dependable way to compose and edit offline posts and upload them to your blog. It works perfectly for me, and I’m really enjoying the new ribbon interface. If you can use MS Office, you can use Windows Live Writer. And while there are lots of plug-ins available in the Windows Live Gallery – I think you’ll find this to be a full featured editor right “out of the box”. It’s easy to learn and easy to use.
Windows Live Messenger is my most favorite of all the Essentials programs. This new version brings together your social feeds, making it even easier to keep up with what your contacts are doing. It also offers integration with your Facebook feed. Your WLM contacts can get updates you post on Facebook and your Facebook contacts can see your Windows Live Messenger status updates (assuming you link the accounts). I personally make this a one way thing. I don’t mind my WLM contacts seeing my Facebook updates (which are rare anyway), but I don’t show all my status changes (like “BBL” or “AFK”) to my Facebook contacts. But I can see where many users might be quite happy to allow 2-way integration. There is not a complete integration with Facebook chat yet, like you’ll find in Digsby or Trillian, but I’m hopeful we’ll see more development in the future. (I really detest Facebook chat on the Facebook website so I’m really hoping this integration is under development – but we’ll just have to wait and see.) This is certainly a good start. Of course Yahoo interoperability functions as it always has. Although, just as in the past, I’ve found that sometimes status updates don’t appear correctly – but that’s nothing new and since it requires servers playing nice with each other is just the nature of the beast I think.
Sharing links in your status is easier than ever. And you can link social services like Flickr, Multiply,Photobucket, Facebook, Myspace, and the list goes on and on. For a complete list of social sites you can integrate into your social feed you’ll need to visit your profile on Windows Live and set them up. They make the authorization process easy as pie, so you can view your updates from all your sites in one nicely laid out feed.
A really great new feature is being able to leave a video message for your offline contacts. There is no need to go to a third party site to do this any longer! However, your contact needs to be appearing offline for you to do this. I’ve tested the video chat in Wave 4 and I must say the quality is most impressive. There is a new layout to the video chat you either have to get used to it or make your viewing area a little larger than you may be accustomed to so that your image doesn’t overlap that of your contact, but it’s workable. The images are no longer stacked on top of each other, they are slightly tiled. But as you enlarge the viewing area (by dragging the edge of the chat box – you’ll see they do separate.) As with anything – change takes a little getting used to. The sound quality was good, and in my test conversation with my dear friend Philip, I didn’t encounter any glitches in the performance. Overall, a far better debut than the video in Wave 3 beta when it came out.
A nice new feature is being able to appear selectively offline to some contacts without blocking them completely (which results in not getting any offlines from them either.) It is important to know that you must appear online to a contact to speak with them. You cannot initiate or respond to a message if you are showing offline to them. However, if you are invisible, you can appear online to just the contacts you need to. The prompts make it very easy to continue chatting if you’ve forgotten you are offline to one or more of your contacts. This is a big improvement in my book!!
Of course, there are bound to be a few bugs – it is still a beta after all! Games don’t seem to be functioning properly just yet. I also had one time when my online contacts didn’t show – but I just logged out, told WLM to forget me, and logged back in and it was completely fine. And I’ve had a few times where I was unable to click into my chat box to respond to a message after choosing to appear online. But in these cases, closing the chat window and re-opening a new one did the trick. This is still a public beta. There will be bugs.
One very important note: you must be using Vista SP2 or Windows 7 to install the new Wave 4 beta. It is not supported for XP. Some of the new and improved features will only be available Wave 4 to Wave 4. However, you will still be able to chat and have video conversations with your contacts who are still on XP. Overall, I’ve found the beta version to be very stable on my machine, and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
Originally posted at patndoris.com
From the Windows Live Team blog:
Over the weekend Microsoft learned that several thousand Windows Live Hotmail customers’ credentials were exposed on a third-party site due to a likely phishing scheme.
One site indicated more than 10,000 Hotmail credentials may have been compromised. Translation: User names and passwords were illegally posted online. Most appear to be accounts in Europe and include @hotmail.com, @msn.com and @live.com accounts. If your account was on this list, you will need to fill out the form linked in the Windows Live Team post to regain access to it, as they are blocking the known compromised accounts for obvious security reasons.
If you haven’t yet read How To Avoid Phishing Worms on WLM please take time to do so. While the illegal list was removed, for a period of time, this information was available to those who may use it for phishing schemes. It is important to know what to watch out for, and how to protect yourself.
As I originally posted on patndoris.com back on June 1st, there is the distinct possibility Vista users who install Service Pack 2 will experience a problem with Windows Live Messenger (WLM) no longer launching. Since Service Pack 2 is set to start rolling out via automatic updates on June 30th, I thought it might be a good idea to repost this information again.
Problem: After installing SP2 for Vista, there is the possibility WLM will not launch. Clicking on the WLM desktop icon produces no result. No error. No hourglass. No running process in Task Manager. Nothing. Not even an error that the shortcut points to a program that is no longer valid. Nothing.
I ran into this myself when I updated to SP2 for Vista. It affects both 32-bit and 64-bit Vista systems. It apparently occurs when WLM detects the upgrade to the operating system and attempts an automatic repair but uses the incorrect installer package to do so. This should NOT be a reason for you to avoid installing SP2 for Vista. Service Packs include important security and operating system updates, and the WLM issue is easy enough to fix.
The natural thing to want to do is un-install and re-install. DO NOT! If you uninstall first, you will be prevented from doing the fix. Likewise, do not attempt a repair of WLM either.
Solution: Head over to Live Messenger Download site and re-install right over top of the the existing installation. I did not get any warning that WLM was already installed on my system, and it installed flawlessly in just a couple of minutes.
The problem was officially acknowledged on June 16th in the WLM Support Space blog. Their fix and instructions are basically the same as the ones outlined in my original information.
On June 30, 2009 (yup, just a couple days away now) Microsoft has decided to put an end to MSN Web Messenger. The Web Messenger service has been around for years, and was an alternative for those who didn’t want to, or weren’t able to use the full instant messaging client. With the web-based integration of instant messaging right from the Windows Live People page in Hotmail (fondly called your “contact list”), you can now chat right from Hotmail.
Just sign into Hotmail, and you should see the familiar Messenger Icon towards the upper right hand side of the screen. Click on the drop down box to see the sign in options (shown above). For those, like myself who don’t use a Hotmail address for authentication, you do have access your contacts from your Windows Live People page with no problem whatsoever.
While it works great in IE and Firefox, I tried it on two different machines using Google Chrome and the Messenger option simply does not appear. On a fresh install of Chrome, after logging into my Live ID, I was prompted some pages might not display properly with the browser I was using So if you are a Google Chrome fan (like me) you may not be quite as impressed with this change.
Bottom line? MSN Web Messenger will be gone on Tuesday. If you want to access WLM on the web you’ll need to use the new Hotmail (or Live profile) option, or use a web based client such as Meebo or eBuddy.
Thank you to Jonathan Kay for giving his permission to repost his full blog entry from MessengerGeek on Live Spaces here for our BigBlueBall members. This is valuable information of which every WLM user should be aware. This is a wonderful explanation of what to watch out for, and what to do if you think you’ve been compromised.
As the most used instant messaging service in the world, it’s become more and more common to find your contacts sending out virus, spam and worm links through Messenger. There’s a lot of different types and different steps for removal, but the one most recently affecting people is a “phishing worm”. Read more
IMBooster launched Public Beta this week, announcing that registrations will be open until a maximum of 4000 beta testers subscribe.
IMBooster is an add-on for Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger that extends those programs with new avatars, winks, nudges and emoticons.
If you’d like to be part of the beta test program, you must be one of the first 4000 to sign-up at http://beta.iminent.com/
Over the past few days, Microsoft has started to upgrade all users of previous versions of Windows Live Messenger (WLM) 2009 builds to the newest version 14.0.8064.0206. Within time, versions 8.1 and 8.5 will be obligatory as well.
If and when you upgrade via the prompt from WLM, the entire Windows Live Essentials bundle is downloaded and updated as well.
To manually download and update to the latest version of WLM, check out the official site.
IMBooster is an add-on created by IMinent to enhance IM programs such as Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. The first release of IMBooster was back in May 2007. Its primary version was called IMBooster Public Beta 1.0. Back then, IMBooster was revolving around one single service, Video Winks for Windows Live Messenger, but today, IMBooster contains many other IM oriented services.
Today, IMBooster consists of a discrete conversation-attached bar from which IM users can send emoticons, winks, multiple nudges, use dynamic display pictures and decorate chat text, all in real time (Copyright held by IMinent). Each service comes with its own distinct name: Emoticons and BigEmos, Winks and Video Winks, FireNudge, Mood Avatars and Buddy Bubbles. As for BigEmos and Video Winks, these are an exclusive innovation from IMBooster whereas the content itself is created by a large number of freelancers all over the world, on a weekly basis.
Unlike other add-ons from the niche, IMBooster offers the possibility to create personalized content (with a webcam or from personal images). However, this possibility is available only for emoticons and video winks for the moment. In addition, IMBooster is not an IM client and the main wish of its creators is to never become one, but to continue running on a completely separate channel (currently Jabber-based), working with the IM Client and not over or against it and its channels.
IMBooster is not only entertainment oriented software, but a complement to the IM Clients, a means of customizing and boosting the IM experience without slowing down the operating system or implementing itself in unwanted areas. IMinent has announced that the main goal of IMBooster is a clean and fast evolution with as many IM Clients as possible.
The IMBooster add-on is available for Windows XP and Windows Vista 32 bit and works with IM Clients Windows Live Messenger 8.5 or higher and Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 or higher. Full compatibility with Yahoo! Messenger was finalized back in August 2008. IMinent has also announced its intention to work on the IMBooster to AIM compatibility in the near future.
IMinent is a company which develops value-added software such as IMBooster for Instant Messaging and SearchTheWeb and IMinent Toolbar for Internet browsing. The company also offers IM statistical information of public interest and co-operates with companies in the business to bring novelty to the web.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
- There are secret display pictures that you can activate with the key sequence $mood (example: $mood love, $mood kiss, $mood ? etc). Some display pictures have them, some do not. Try each character and see what happens.
- Although they mention it rarely, there is a website where IMinent offers beta versions in advance, versions which are not stable but contain exclusive services and content. If you don’t mind a rare bug, subscribe to the beta.
- Create emoticons with the webcam or from an image on your computer: the content creation wizard is in the Emoticons window of IMBooster and is very easy to use, no explanations needed.
- Decorate the text you send to your buddies by first writing something in the chat text box and then choosing a Buddy Bubble character with callout. You can see the preview on mouse over. Clicking the desired character send a decorated Buddy Bubble.
- Send a FireNudge: you may only see one nudge but the person that is getting it is most likely receiving five of them. Wait 20 second for the button to reactivate itself before sending another set of five nudges.
- Get the receiver to install IMBooster to benefit from the best IM experience. (Winks require both sides to have the software installed).
- Want to see some “inside” techie info? Go to Options > About … and click the center of the window. You will see a pop-up with several useful things such as: if IMBooster is connected, to which IM Clients it is attached, etc. Don’t worry, that is private info, only you can see that (a remainder of our testing series which is quite useful for debugging).
For more information on IMBooster, visit IMinent.com
Windows Live Messenger (WLM; formerly MSN Messenger) is the fastest growing instant messaging program, and currently ranks #2 behind AIM/ICQ. Regardless of what you think of Microsoft, WLM has one the best interfaces and is very easy to use. The design of WLM is clean and extremely functional. No, not perfect, but a very well-designed application.
- Download Windows Live Messenger
- Get help! Windows Live Messenger forums at BigBlueBall
- Express yourself! MessengerMods display picture gallery