Awesome! Thanks to InsideMicrosoft, I got my invite for Windows Live Messenger. I don’t think I’ve been so invited since Gmail 😉
The installation was quick and simple. It didn’t ask me to install MSN Toolbar, set MSN as homepage or anything. I did have to close Windows Media Player, presumbly so it could install the music plugin.
The new look is OK but I really can’t say I like the orange. The new interface (to me) also seems to be more cluttered (perhaps I’ve gotten too used to using Messenger Plus to hide a lot of clutter in MSN 7). One of the biggest changes I noticed is that it no longer shows display pictures on the contact list and the status icons are simplified to online/away/offline. When you move your mouse over a contact name, it’ll expand and show you their display picture, status, personal message in full and give you several icons for starting a new convo, sending an e-mail. Nice, but I found it kinda annoying to use.
The MSN Spaces logo looks like Ubuntu to me.
The buddy search in the conversation window is great and being able to rename your contacts is fantastic.
I currently use a similar feature in Messenger Plus – from personal experience the Messenger Plus! version is simpler and easier to use and allows you to append the contact’s nickname after your nickname. I suppose Microsoft really really don’t want us typing in random messages in our nickname anymore 🙂
You can now talk offline (if you feel really antisocial) and choose to show timestamps in the message window. This is a nice feature which I’ve been getting from Messenger Plus for a long time.
Although Messenger 8 is certainly nice there aren’t any killer features and I certainly don’t think it’s any easier to use than version 7. Perhaps its the way I use Messenger but my initial reaction is that this is a step down from the comparative simplicity of version 6. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel about Messenger 8 after using it for a few days.