Although Windows Live Messenger presented three new interfaces, shown right in order of update, and included the idea of built-in virus scanning and creation of folders dedicated to file exchanges, it still did not attain anything that Messenger Plus! added to Messenger 7, such as coloured usernames, boss alerts, and condensation of conversation windows into one (although each conversation would still count as one session in the Session layer of the OSI model — just had to say that for Mr Leitz!). Still, I liked it, although I had been checking frantically for news of an update to the Plus! software.
A few days ago, a talk with a PC mod about failing to set her status to Away whilst she was sleeping spurred me to look for an update, and I found this article titled 'Messenger Plus! Live Public Beta?'.
First, notice the question mark at the end of the title :). For those of you who are wondering about Messenger Plus! Live, here are some news. I just came back from a "pre-release vacation", having spent the last 6 months in my office with Visual Studio, I have to say this break really helped me to clear my mind and have a fresh look on the software. Microsoft doesn't seem to be willing to release Windows Live Messenger anytime soon and as more and more people are now using the public beta of the new Messenger, I get more and more feedback about "when Plus! will be compatible with Messenger 8?!?". Simply put, the answer is: soon. One of the latest internal beta versions of Plus! was leaked, some of you are already enjoying it (you shouldn't :p) and from what I've heard, I think the software is now ready for public distribution. It's still missing some bits and pieces but I can't hold the release forever.So what can we expect? A month is an attractive amount of waiting time, but the number of things Patchou may want to add in addition to what's offered for MSN Messenger probably will outweigh the promised amount of time. But it's good to dream, yes?
So, here's the current situation: whether Microsoft releases Windows Live Messenger or not, you can expect Messenger Plus! Live to be available publicly within the next 30 days. It will keep a "beta" label as long as Messenger is not final but you can still expect a pretty reliable product. The internal beta testers have done a fantastic job squashing bugs, giving their suggestions, and the software is now almost feature complete. We are still working on the new web site so I guess it will be released as "beta" along with the software.
With all the preparation, an important event almost got forgotten: the 5th anniversary of Messenger Plus!. I'd say 5 years is not bad for a software that was originally meant to last no more than 6 months :). Thank you all for still referring the add-on to your friends and colleagues, Messenger Plus! wouldn't exist without this kind of support. You may like to know that since its creation, the software has been downloaded/installed more than 150,000,000 times, with the current rate being 190,000 installs a day! It's nice to see the evolution of the statistics (I've kept them from the beginning), they almost never stopped progressing since "The MSN Messenger Plus! Extension" was first released on the 19th day of May 2001. At that time, almost nobody cared about MSN Messenger, dedicated web sites were just starting to appear (mess.be was probably the first serious one) and the add-on scene was simply inexistent. What started as a side project to pass time is now a worldwide Messenger add-on used by millions of people everyday; I'm very proud of it but I'm still wondering how it came to what it is today, especially when I look back at the code of the first version (brrrr, gives me chills to think anybody would want to install that on their computer).
Soon, the fourth major update of Messenger Plus! will be distributed to all of you under the new name "Messenger Plus! Live" and I hope it will keep on serving some purposes for the year(s?) to come. I don't know when or how this adventure will end but there's one thing I'm sure of: it's been a hell of a ride and it was worth all the problems and sleepless nights that came (and will come) along the way.