According to attendees of Windows Live Sessions (FR), Windows Live Messenger 8.1 will be entering public beta on ideas.live.com early next week, most likely Monday or Tuesday depending on your timezone.
For those who haven't been following the beta, the main changes currently included are:
- Improved contact cards
- Display picture stored online
- Locations that can be configured to display in your personal status message
Updated: Sure enough it was released. See our follow up post for more details.