Live Messenger 2011 – pros and cons of upgrading

So Live Messenger 2011 is now here! Woohooo! (I think!)

Download Live Messenger 2011 here (but read the article first!)

Here is a quick run down of some of the pros and cons of upgrading.  It might be good for you and it might not.  I have to admit I was a bit miffed at a couple of the ‘upgrades’ but I’m giving it a go anyway.


Facebook chat:

Of course you would expect a slicker interface and some added features and you do.  For one, you get integration into Facebook chat so you can chat to your Facebook friends who are signed in on Facebook chat through the Live Messenger chat windows rather than the Facebook chat in the web page.

You also get to see your Facebook friends signing in just like any other Messenger contact.

I like this but can be confusing at first hehehe.

Offline to all/Online to one:

If you are one of those people that sign in in Offline mode so you can just chat to one or two people and not get bombarded by many chats, then you can “Appear online to this person” or “Appear online to everyone” or “Appear offline to everyone”.

A good idea I guess although did it need messing with?

Send video message:

I don’t remember this option from previous versions.  In an IM window of the selected contact you can click on the little arrow next to Video Call and go down to Video Message.  This opens up a new window with your webcam visible and a record and stop button.  Record your message and click send!


No more one way video chat:

I’ve not tested this but I have seen quite a few sites where people are complaining that this feature has been taken away.  Why did it get taken away? This was a feature of Live Messenger in previous versions.  I know a few people who don’t have webcams but still like to see the other person on cam while not being able to show their own.

Thumbs down.

Nickname changes:

Ok, this one really got my goat when I first realised.  By default Live Messenger 2011 uses your Live Full name (first name and last name) as your Live Messenger name.  If you want to change your display name, the only option takes you to the Live website where you get to edit your ‘First name’ and ‘Last name’.  Of course, this will edit your name on both Live Messenger and the Live (Hotmail) site (i.e. when you send an email it will get sent with the new name!)

I don’t like this because like me you may have different names for different groups of people.  I use my hotmail email address to send emails that perhaps are more formal or even business related but I use Live Messenger in an informal way. For instance I have many gaming friends who know me as ‘Jabbs’ not as ‘Jonathan Burrows’.

As I write, I’ve asked a friend what my name shows as on Live Messenger.  She said it was my nickname (Jabbs) rather than my full name.  This suggests to me that existing people will see me as the nickname I had before I ‘upgraded’ to Live Messenger 2011.  I can only guess what any new contacts will see me as. Probably ‘Jonathan Burrows’.

Other stuff (not really a pro or a con in my eyes)

Tabbed conversations:

So conversations are now in one window (tabbed windows) by default but you can change this. I’m leaving it set like this to see how it goes.  Seems ok so far!

Connect to other services:

As you have seen above, you can connect your Facebook account to Live Messenger 2011.  You can also connect many other services such as MySpace; LinkedIn; WordPress; Last.FM; Flickr and many more.  no Twitter though!

Shared status with Facebook:

You can now set your Facebook status via the Live Messenger 2011 ‘Share something’ area and also visa versa (if you wish). You can disable this if you like.

‘Full view’:

Full view basically incorporates what used to be MSN Today with news and search on one side and contacts on the other.  I’m not that fussed about this :-)

There are the usual other features such as Shared Activities (games and so on) but that’s all I’m writing about for now.  Got a comment? Write back here on the website or on my Facebook Page.

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