Some new concepts in Windows Live Messenger Wave 4

Many of you probably had the chance to play with the recently leaked M2 build of Windows Live Messenger Wave 4. I’m sure you’ve seen many screenshots of the build around the internet already, so we won’t do that again. In this post, we’ll go more in-depth and give you an overview to some of the new concepts that are newly introduced in Messenger Wave 4:

  • Badge – A “badge” is a campaign or affiliation that you can place on your profile. It is basically an icon that you place next to your display name, and you can think of it as similar to the i’m initiative. An example is shown below with the Queble badge shown next to the display name:
  • Services vs. Web Activities – In Wave 3 we were introduced to “Web Activities”, which are basically news feeds from various social and other third party websites which you can add and display on your “What’s new feed” on Windows Live. In Wave 4, we have a new concept called “Services”, which expands on “Web Activities” and allow more integration of third party services with your Windows Live experience. An example of this is the Facebook service, when added it will not only allow you to view all your social feeds coming from Facebook directly from within Windows Live, it will also let you chat with Facebook chat users within Messenger, and perhaps even update your own Facebook profile from Windows Live. When it goes live, you’ll be able to add and manage your Services at Below is a screenshot of the option to add Services within Messenger:
  • VIP Links – One of the new feature of Messenger is what we dubbed “VIP Links” (I’m sure the official name is probably longer than that). What it does is that Messenger will automatically recognise specific words from what you or your friends have typed in your conversation and display a dotted line beneath it. Clicking on this word will bring you to the “Add content from web” window, and will pre-populate and search for any images related to that word on Bing. You can select multiple images of that word and add them to your conversation, and view them together like you would in PhotoShare. Here’s a screenshot of it in action:
    VIP Links
  • Video Messages – We’ve told you about this before, now Windows Live Video Messages is now fully integrated within Messenger. Clicking on the “Video Messages” in the conversation windows will bring you the following window:
    Video Messages
    You can record up to 30 seconds of video message, and after recording you’ll be able to preview the video messages first before clicking Send, which will automatically upload the video message onto SkyDrive and the contact you’re sending it to will be notified.
  • Brand new default emoticons – Not only some emoticons have a revamped look in Wave 4, but there’s actually three brand new default emoticons in Messenger Wave 4, these are Shifty, Annoyed, and Groucho:
    (no wonder some people have been calling the new-look emoticons “seedy”…I wonder why)
  • Social mode vs. Contacts mode – You’re probably well aware that the new Messenger will have two modes – the Social mode and the Contacts mode. Clicking the button on the top-right corner will allow you to easily switch between the two modes:
    Social Mode
    Do expect a lot more to come for the new Social mode, because it’s meant to be a lot more than just displaying the “What’s New” feed.

These are just an early glimpse of what’s to come with Messenger Wave 4. To those who had downloaded the leaked build of Messenger – remember that it is a very early build, the Social mode is not exactly what it will look like, and you won’t be able to see what the new “Services” will bring you. In fact, most of the new features and functionalities are either turned off or not fully implemented, and even if they are, expect major changes to them by the final version. It’s way too early to make a judgement on Messenger Wave 4 – but one thing is for sure – the new “Services” concept and Video Messages integration sure looks promising, not just for Messenger, but for Windows Live as a whole. Wink