Thoughts on Windows Live Messenger 2011

So about a month ago my computer told me it was time for WLM to be upgraded again. Once you get over the initial reaction, it’s not too bad.

Thoughts on WLM 2011

Right from the screengrab above you can tell that Microsoft have clearly made some changes. One downside I’ve noticed is that before you could give it the option to remember your username but not your password, whereas in 2011, this functionality has either been removed or put somewhere less obvious – meaning you can either remember everything and let anyone at the computer log in as you, or go through typing in your email address everytime – which if you have a long address can get tedious after a while.

Once it logs in you get confronted with what can only be described as a mess – see the below (low quality) screengrab:

As you can see, Microsoft have managed to shoehorn MSN home / Bing into it, with only a small section on the right for your contact list, with enough space underneath for an advert. So far it all feels a bit grim – at this point I was tempted to go back to the previous version, but I thought I’d trial it for a bit.

Also, WLM asks if you want to integrate facebook – this is actually quite neat. Microsoft have used their share in Facebook to an advantage. Once you integrate Facebook you can speak to people on facebook chat, without using that horrifically slow, unreliable browser based version via FB. In case you hadn’t realised, I’m not a fan of the browser client. One downside I have found is that if you add someone on facebook, it generally takes a while for WLM to catch up – leaving it till the next day should suffice though.

It’s easy to see why MS have done this – with the number of people on facebook still increasing, more people are being moved away from WLM – by integrating Facebook, MS can retain some of their share of the Instant Messaging pie, by appealing to both userbases.

You can also move away from the cluttered version of WLM, and revert it to something with a likeness to the old version. To the right of your status / inbox count, there is a button that you can click to shrink it back down to the contact list, and one advert – much better than the cluttered view.

One thing that has changed is that your name is….well…just your name – I’m assuming that this is to do with the Facebook chat integration. On the plus side the second custom message box it still there and upon updating it you can optionally update your Facebook status.

So…to summerise:


– Incorporated Facebook Chat


– Can’t save the username alone in the welcome screen

– Initial appearence is clunky and cluttered

Basically if you hate the web based Facebook messenger and can put up with a little more clutter it’s worth taking a  look at WLM 2011

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