Windows Live Messenger 8.1 beta released

Windows Live Messenger 8.1

Microsoft has released a beta version of Windows Live Messenger 8.1 over at It’s not an enormous update, but it does add a few nice features to the IM client. Among them are a “Roaming Identity,” meaning you can (optionally) have your display picture and personal message follow you wherever you login, an improved emoticon, background, and display picture menu that shows you recently-used emoticons, etc. up top, an SMS phone book that lets you associate phone numbers with you contacts and send them SMS messages easily, a “report abuse” function, and support for Vista’s Presentation Mode that keeps IMs from interrupting you when you’re in the middle of a presentation. There are a couple other minor new features like an improved Contact Card, a Sign Out option on the Status menu and a new contact emoticon. Windows Live Messenger is a free download from Microsoft.

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