Just a few hours ago, the Windows Live team released their much awaited public betas of most of the Windows Live desktop products which are part of Wave 3 launch which includes Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Toolbar and Family Safety.

There is a huge number of new features in the new Windows live Messenger Beta which is marked as version 2009 in the about box. It’s available for download here,as posted by our friends at LiveSide. The complete offline installer can be downloaded from here. We have been amazed by features we’ve found in the new Messenger so far. Here’s a quick review of what you can expect to see in this Beta.

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Scenes

One of the things you’ll notice when you move your mouse to the header is that the top right part will fold out. Clicking this will open up ‘Scenes’. Scenes are images for you main window that really make Messenger more beautiful! Although we expected to see them in our conversation window as well, it turns out that they show to your contacts only and you’ll be able to see your contact’s Scene in the header of his/her conversation window. Scenes are going to be a feature common to all Windows Live services, but so far it’s in Windows Live Messenger only

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Groups

Groups, as the name says, lets you create groups with your contacts. Each group has a website, profile, calendar, discussion and photos option. Although these aren’t functional at the moment, we can’t wait for it to launch! This feature would possibly be integrated with Windows Live Groups.

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Simplified header

As was pointed out by LiveSide already, the new header is very minimalistic. It only shows you your email count. Spaces and other links are gone. Although you can access the Windows Live Today page from the Tab bar at the bottom now.

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Display Pictures

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    • WebCam Snapshots
      • This is an awesome new addition to display pictures. You can take snapshots using your webcam to use as a display picture, or even create a quick 4 second video to use!
    • Tile with Moods
      • This lets you create your own dynamic display pictures which respond to the emoticons you use. You can use up to 4 emoticons to go with your different expressions. This is another first in Messenger and we love it!

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Personal Status Message

Although a minor change, now you can view your status message and music played at the same time. Although your contact wont be able to see both at the same time. And you can even use hyperlinks in your personal messages now!

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On Hover Contact Options

Hover your mouse pointer on any contact in your list and you’ll see a cool black transparent menu that’ll give you quick access to IM, Email, Profile, SMS and the Contact Card. Although the contact cards are still the old ones and we expect them to be updated as well.popup

What’s new feed?

Facebook has spread the news feed phenomenon everywhere! First on Windows Live Space, now the news feed has found its way in Messenger. It shows you updates about your contacts, which includes personal message changes, display picture changes, file uploads to SkyDrive and Spaces updates.

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Favorites

Favorite contacts can be added in a category at the top of the list in the main window. Making them always visible at a quick glance.

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Variable Size for Contact Display Pictures

Contact list display pictures come in 3 sizes now. You can even turn off the display pictures altogether or chose individual sizes for the favorites and contacts lists.

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Photoshare

Photoshare lets you and your contact share and view images in real time using your conversation window. Any of you can add images to the share. Nice addition.

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Icons and Status Messages

The icons and status messages have changed. Now there are only 4 options to chose for your status message. Available, Busy, Away and Appear Offline, which make more sense than the extra ones we used to have. Also the system try Messenger icon has changed to a new look.

 

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Display Picture Borders Change according to Status

The border around display pictures now changes color to reflect the status of a contact. This looks very cool and updates through a slick animation.

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Overall, we’re really impressed with this Beta. It’s been very stable so far for us and is definitely worth trying! Here’s a video below for a visual tour of the new features.

Windows Live Messenger Video Tour

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