It’s already been six months of nice Windows Vista experience but it felt like I haven’t played enough with the value added things Microsoft launched alongside Windows Vista. I’ve started to explore recently about Windows Live services and software, and it was quite worth everyone’s attention.
Well actually, Windows Live services are not really attached to any Windows operating system, although Windows Vista may appear to be a “little bias” with the timing of the release. Windows Live constitutes some desktop but mainly web applications that are meant to extend and improve the Windows user experience. These experiences are grouped by Microsoft into three categories where Windows Live services and applications fall in: informed, connected and protected.
The first thing I scrutinized is the Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft’s instant messaging (IM) client previously known in its early versions as MSN Messenger. It is one of the services and software that belongs to the “connected” category of Windows Live. So, without further ado, here are the good, the bad, and the worst things (yes, they exist) of Microsoft’s flagship IM.
Considering its track record, Windows Live Messenger is the ultimate product of Microsoft’s IM “evolution” to date. I’ve used MSN Messenger before, though I admit that I am not an avid user of it because there are just terrible things that didn’t amuse me.
By first run, I was truly impressed by the lush implementation of Windows Vista-styled graphical user interface (GUI). It doesn’t just look simple, it’s straightforward and I considered it one of the sexiest IM clients I’ve seen this year next to the Yahoo Messenger for Vista pre-beta version. Well, not all GUI stuffs of this messenger are applaudable, you’ll find out later the shortcomings.
I was truly impressed by the lush implementation of Windows Vista-styled GUI. It doesn’t just look simple, it’s straightforward and I considered it one of the sexiest IM clients I’ve seen.
Functionality-wise, the Windows Live Messenger is supercharged. Chatting, voice and video call works great – no major complaints with that. Its interoperability with Yahoo Messenger really helped retain its user base (or even allured people who prefer to use Microsoft products). I really wish all other messengers will work with each other – but it’s unlikely to happen in the next few years.
I definitely like the Winks feature, similar to Yahoo Messenger’s audibles, but still very limited. Also, the Windows Live Spaces button in the Live messenger is worth-mentioning. Windows Live Spaces is Microsoft’s social community and blogging platform. Clicking the Live Space button will let you explore more of Windows Live features and enjoy them if you can.
Overall, I am glad that Microsoft did so much for this version. I love its messenger, and I wish I could give it 9 out of 10, but there are bad and worst things I’ve found out.
Way back on MSN Messenger, the first thing I sought was the public chat rooms but with no luck. It’s one of the great features other IM (like Yahoo Messenger) are having. Though it’s also the feature that spammers and bots are enticed to attack, making messaging clients the “vector” of trojans and viruses, along with other vulnerabilities, I believe that it is a good venue to show off Microsoft’s muscles in the IM department. If anyone knows that this functionality is present, could anyone tell me please?
The ugliest thing I’ve seen in this souped up IM client are the smileys. It’s crazy – I expected that they’ve gone through the evolution but it is so disappointing to see that they are still ancient-looking. I really wondered why they didn’t change that much. Microsoft seems to be very proud of their emoticons that fail to truly exhibit serious facial expressions. People may find it difficult to express themselves using them.
Microsoft seems to be very proud of their emoticons that fail to truly exhibit serious facial expressions. People may find it difficult to express themselves using them.
I remember that I’ve lost interest in using MSN Messenger before because of the terrible emoticons, and it seems today (though many of my other complaints were addressed now), my major rant is still unchanged. Smileys still look like they were drawn by a grade three kid – they don’t amuse the adults at all. Yahoo Messenger and Skype smileys are still a lot better. Windows Live Messenger definitely has the worst smileys I’ve ever seen on an IM client.
If Microsoft will be successful to acquire Yahoo in their recent $42 billion bid, we would expect giant changes not only to the Windows and Yahoo messengers, but the ways we interact and market in the Web itself. It would be a big, great change. However, if that happens, I wish Microsoft would copy YM’s emoticons and make it a standard on both messengers, including other missing features. It will definitely please many people (and me).
While I’m excited with the current events involving companies who are attempting to topple down Google’s Web leadership, as a normal Web user, I guess I’ll just take a deep breath and wait for the new benefits the changes would bring.