New Windows Messenger for XP Released

Microsoft has quietly released an update to Windows Messenger, the instant messaging (IM) application that ships with Windows XP. Windows Messenger 4.6 adds several new features, including new add-ins for Windows Messenger, new computer-to-phone service options, and other improvements.

"With Windows Messenger, Windows XP will help make the world a more connected place by combining the power of the Internet with the innovation of the PC industry to make a real difference for users," Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said earlier this year.

The Windows Messenger 4.6 upgrade includes several MSN add-ins, including email integration, chat integration, mobile-text messaging, profile creation, profile viewing, and daily links. As the company notes, "With the MSN add-in, you can see how many new Hotmail email messages you have and receive an alert when a new message arrives. You can also send text messages to your friends on their cell phones and pagers, join MSN celebrity chats, set up a public profile, and more." The add-in functionality is open so third parties can create their own Messenger add-ins. Enterprises can now customize the phone-dialer feature in Windows Messenger to route computer-to-phone calls through your chosen service provider, lowering long-distance phone bills. And Windows Messenger includes other enhancements to Help, error messages, the conversation window, and other areas.

Windows Messenger 4.6 is available for free download from the Microsoft Web site. Note that this upgrade works only with Windows XP.

For information about creating Windows Messenger add-ins, visit the MSDN Web site.

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