On this side of the Atlantic, I find that the MSN instant messaging system is far more popular then ICQ, AOL or other platforms out there. When you make a new friend you ask for their mobile number, email addy and MSN email: It’s that much of a standard. Thus us Mac folk in Europe have to run the Microsoft appy to keep up our social affairs. The Mac version has always been relatively dry, so updates are more then welcome.
For the last week and a half I have been testing out the new 6th version of Microsoft Messenger for Mac OSX, and check out the conclusion after the jump.
The most important update in this version is the fact that it has been (finally) turned into a Universal Binary, so it won’t kill your MacBook when you run it. On an Intel machine performance is loads better, but not noticeable on a PPC. X86 users should upgrade to this asap.
Thankfully it is now also possible to have and view Personal Messages, which are those grey phrases, which usually makes sense of the nicks. Alternatively you can choose to display the current song you’re playing on iTunes. This means that all your friends will know if you ‘accidentally’ play Pussycat Dolls while you’re ‘at the loo’ (damn shuffle…). Not that I will ever use the iTunes feature, but I always enjoy knowing I have access to such features if I’m able to turn them off…
…It’s when a new addition gets in your face regardless of your wanting to have it that irritates me. Messenger 6 now has “Windows Live” which in short allows you to IM your Yahoo mates. Well that would not have been so bad if I had any Yahoo contacts. But MS has gone out of its way to make sure you know about WindowsLive by pasting the Windows Live logo on EVERY window of the Messenger (see images), even the notification pop ups. I have made every effort to remove the Windows logo from the XP partition on Bootcamp, and then this happens. Am I the only person who wants his Apple to be Windows logo free?
It does have a couple of additional features which one would find useful; including a spell checker, and the ability to add custom emotions, which might help you feel less left out in the MSN community. But still the Mac version lags behind. It has NO voip, NO webcam, NO games, NO handwritten messages, and NO access to your contact’s ‘space’. It still has that uneasy feeling of something incomplete.
While you can download the app here, my advice is to stick to Adium as it will satisfy all your IM needs in a very nice application. The most reassuring part of this release of Messenger is the fact that Microsoft is busy converting it’s applications to Universal Binaries, meaning we might be able to see a new Office:Mac pretty soon.
If you do download it, save 4MB by using this handy tip.