posted by Nicole

There’s a happy sound from the offices down the hall
And the offices upstairs too.
And our email inboxes are getting filled
With congratulations mail, woot, woot…. woot, woot!

So long farewell, auf weidersehen later
Lata’, lata’, to beta, beta, beta

OK OK – enough silliness as you can likely tell the Messenger team is SuperExcited about about releasing Messenger 8.1 without the Beta tag.

Important Details: 

  • Get Messenger 8.1 (build 178) here
  • Send feedback here
  • Talk about it here
  • Get support here

What does it mean to not have the Beta tag?

I am sure you are all familiar with having a "beta" tag of your own. Well ok you are likely not walking around with a sticker on you that says beta – but maybe you have a new driver sign on your car, or a trainee button at a new job. This is so people give you a little bit more room and are understanding when you make hopefully small mistakes. You eagerly learn how to drive safe or all the ins and outs of your new job and when you are ready the "beta" tag comes off. With the help of all our Beta users who gaves us a bit  of extra room and sent in great feedback  – Messenger 8.1 is ready for our tag to come off and to be used by all our users.

What is new since the Messenger 8.1 Beta Refresh?

Beta Tag is Removed

 

Messenger is available in 8 new languages

  • Bulgarian – Messenger ви казва: Здравейте!
  • Estonian – Messenger ütleb: Tere
  • Croatian – Messenger kaže: Zdravo
  • Latvian – Messenger saka: Sveiks!
  • Romanian – Messenger spune: Salut!
  • Serbian Latin – Messenger kaže: Zdravo
  • Thai – Messenger พูดว่า: สวัสดี
  • Ukrainian – Messenger повідомляє: Привіт

If you don’t speak the languages above the phrase is "Messenger says: Hello"

Vista Flash Crash Improvement

As you may recall if you have an old version of flash, Vista and Messenger 8.1 Beta the client was prone to crash. I still highly recommend you update your flash player if you haven’t already. But if not we have put in and an extra safety measure (disable features that use flash and provide you a way to upgrade) to eliminate the flash crash. 

E-mail invitation when adding a new contact

And more bug fixes to improve your IMing experience – including improved connectivity!

Wow! is Microsoft releasing anything else?

Yes indeed! Both Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 will be available tomorrow (or today depending on where you live).

What does Vista have to do with Messenger 8.1?

Messenger 8.1 was updated to work well with Vista.

What is new since the Messenger 8.0 (in case you didn’t use the Beta)?

Roaming Identity  – Your display name follows you any place you sign into. Now your display picture and personal message will follow you too. If you would prefer they stayed in place you can turn this off (Tools->Options->General -> Sign In -> "Use the same display picture….")

Contact Card – The contact card has gotten a updated look. Instead of a flip it does a slide to toggle between the Spaces and Contact information. Also no more squinting at an icon and trying to figure out what it means the actions on the card are now listed out plain and simple.

Emoticons, Winks, Backgrounds, Display Pictures – The menus have gotten an updated look. They include a recently used list and easy access to featured content so you can get new emoticons, winks, background and display pictures to use. hint: typcially in the featured section the first 4 are free.

SMS Phone BookYou now have a quick way to send SMS to a phone number or add phone numbers for your contacts. Just click the cell phone icon in them main window for a good time.

New Contact Emotion – In 8.0 all our icons got an update but we forgot a very important one. The contact emoticon. Type (M) to send it.

Status Menu includes Sign Out – We noticed people look in the status menu to sign out and so ta-da now you can sign out from the status menu.

Report abuse – Here is something you will hopefully never need to use, but it is there just in case in the help menus.

Vista Presentation ModeWhen you are in Presentation Mode on Vista Messenger will change your status to busy so you can avoid the embarrassing situation of everyone reading your IMs! Don’t worry if you want to show Messenger in your presentation you can turn this off (Tools->Options-> Personal-> My Status -> Show me as "Busy"…).

Behind the scenes changes – This release also includes changes to the "guts" of some of the features. The goal is for these changes to improve your experience. Please let us know if that is not the case.

Personal Invitation – When you add a new contact you can add a message so they know who you are. Especially helpful if your email address is something like ILoveMessenger(at)emaildomain.com – since there are so many of us out there.

For screenshots check this and this out.

Awesome! How do I get it again?

  • You can get Messenger 8.1 (build 178) here right now OR
  • If you are running one of the Messenger 8.1 Betas you will be notified about the update very soon, but why wait?

Great! When is the next version of Messenger shipping?

Unfortunately I can’t share that information with you. The best way to keep up-to-date on all things Windows Live Messenger is to sign up for MessengerSays Alerts. There is some very exciting stuff happening soon so I highly recommend doing this.

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If you have a comment/question/concern/discussion topic/rant/rave/other – please head over to the Windows Live Messenger Newsgroup.

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