What's on tap for Windows Live Messenger 9?

Microsoft sent out invites for its next version of its consumer instant-messaging service, Windows Live Messenger 9.0. Here's what's on tap for the next version, expected to be released in final form in late 2008 or early 2009.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Microsoft sent out invitations to pre-selected testers for the next version of its consumer instant-messaging service, Windows Live Messenger (WLM) 9.

What’s on tap for Windows Live Messenger 9?
LiveSide.net grabbed, posted (and later, at Microsoft's request, pulled) the feature list for WLM 9.0. On the feature list for the beta of WLM 9 (according to a cached version of LiveSide's list):

  • Multiple Points Of Presence Support - Now you can sign into Messenger v9 from several different locations and remain signed in, In v8.5 and under, signing in at a new PC will sign you out anywhere else
  • Signature sounds - Make sound signatures instead of just graphical ones
  • Per contact sounds - chose a sound to associate with each of your contacts’ actions
  • Animated Display Pictures - now you can use animated .gif files as your display picture
  • Links in Status Message - Links in the status message are now clickable
  • SPIM reporting - report and block users who spam you via IM

So far no word on when Microsoft plans to make the WLM 9 beta available privately or publicly. And still no update on when the final release is due, though it sounds like late 2008/early 2009 is the working target. (And so far, no mention from the Softies of the alleged GTalk integration.)

Meanwhile, speaking of Microsoft and Live services, Microsoft's Live Search engine lost query-share for the month of October, according to data from ComScore.

Microsoft's loss of .6 percent was Google's gain. Comscore reported that the Google sites increased their search ranking to 58.5 percent of U.S. searches, gaining 1.5 share points over September's total. Yahoo sites ranked second with 22.9 percent, followed by Microsoft sites with 9.7 percent. Ask Network's share was 4.7 percentand Time Warner Network's 4.2 percent.

Microsoft's goal of getting to 30 percent search share within three to five years is looking pretty elusive right now....