Yesterday, the MSN network of Internet services began rolling out the latest versions of MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces in markets around the world. New breakthroughs in video, voice and personalization features in MSN Messenger transform the service from being a quick way for people to keep in touch to being an essential life-sharing connection between friends and family. Integration between MSN Messenger, MSN Spaces and other MSN network services, including MSN Search, gives people a more flexible way to connect with others through instant messaging, Web logging ("blogging"), and sharing music lists and photos.
Over the past year MSN has seen consumers' appetite for richer, personalized online communications services surge globally, as evidenced by the rapid growth of MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces. Since the MSN Spaces beta version was introduced in late 2004, more than 4.5 million Spaces have been created, making MSN Spaces one of the fastest-growing blogging services in the world.
"People all over the world are spending more of their time communicating
online and MSN is providing the services they use," said Blake Irving,
corporate vice president for the MSN Communication Services and Member
Platform group at Microsoft Corp. "We continue to invest in services that
create meaningful, personal and emotional connections for our customers,
letting them express themselves in ways that suit them best."
Globally, more than 155 million customers rely on the MSN Messenger service
each month to connect with their friends and family and, collectively, exchange
more than 2.5 billion instant messages (IMs) every day. MSN Messenger 7.0 is
available today worldwide in 26 languages and introduces improved video, voice
and personalization features that allow people to communicate in more meaningful
ways than ever. Available for download at http://messenger.msn.com, MSN
Messenger 7.0 has added new features since its December 2004 public beta
release, including these:
- Free PC-to-PC video conversation. The new, free MSN Video Conversation
service,1 powered by Logitech technology, connects people with one-click
synchronized audio and video, and offers full-screen video viewing - the
next best thing to really being there.
- Ability to talk over the Internet for free. MSN Messenger 7.0 includes
higher-quality audio functionality so customers can enjoy free,2 real-time
PC-to-PC voice conversations with friends and family around the world.
- PC-to-mobile communications. Customers will soon be able to stay in
touch by sending IMs to friends and family who aren't on their PC. Customers
in selected countries will be able to send SMS text messages from MSN
Messenger to mobile phones - even if the person they are sending to doesn't
have an MSN Messenger account - and the mobile user can reply to the MSN
Messenger user. This feature will be available in multiple markets this
- Greater personalization. New personalization options, including Winks,
Dynamic Display Pictures and theme packs, help customers show their
personality and their mood. Customers can choose from a selection of free
content or get premium content from companies such as AG Interactive, the
media subsidiary of American Greetings Corp., Wisepost/YNK, 3H Group PTY
Ltd., Saw-you.com and Techno Design Internet Programming for a small fee.
- Instant MSN Search capability. MSN Messenger 7.0 offers a Shared Search
button in the conversation window so people can find answers instantly
through MSN Search while they continue their conversation.
- Photo-sharing options. Customers can have more fun with their friends by
sharing photos during a conversation and viewing a slide show together.
People can save shared photos and add pictures of their own to the photo
- Unique presence options. People can now display a personal message
alongside their Messenger name and status. The customized message can
include a greeting that expresses their mood or show the name of a song the
person is listening to on Windows Media Player or iTunes Player. With one
click, customers can go to MSN Music to purchase the song or listen to a
While the feature-set of MSN Messenger 7 really improved, unfortunately
MSN also enhanced the advertising options which can annoy a little bit
(especially this MSN Today pop-up):
MSN also announced new opportunities for advertisers to more deeply
integrate their brands into consumers' overall communications experience
with the latest version of MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces. At the center of
the offerings are branded theme packs for MSN Messenger 7.0, which offer
engaging ways to interact with a brand while also extending the life of the
ad campaign and helping increase advertisers' return on investment.
"Deeper brand integration into MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces will enable
our advertisers to connect with their target audiences in more creative,
spontaneous and unobtrusive ways," said Joanne Bradford, vice president and
chief media revenue officer for MSN. "Integrating great advertising
opportunities is core to our product development process, and as consumers
connect through these new branded entertainment experiences in the MSN
environment, the results for advertisers are higher brand awareness and
Advertising options for MSN Messenger 7.0 include these:
- MSN Video Conversation. More than 30 million unique users each month
use MSN's basic webcam feature. With MSN Messenger 7.0, MSN will
introduce MSN Video Conversation, which includes full-screen
synchronized audio and video capabilities. Advertisers will have the
opportunity to host a brief commercial-like experience before each MSN
Video Conversation session, reaching a highly engaged audience.
- Conversation window text ads. New advertising space in MSN Messenger
7.0 includes a text ad at the bottom of the MSN Messenger screen that
sends consumers directly to the marketer's ad or Web site with one
- MSN Tabs. Another new way for advertisers to prominently integrate
their brands on MSN Messenger is by sponsoring MSN Tabs, which allow
consumers to click directly through to information and services
elsewhere on the MSN network from within the Messenger window and
closely engage with advertisers' brands.
- MSN Today. MSN is offering even richer video and advertising
opportunities on the new version of MSN Today. MSN Today offers
rich-media sponsorship opportunities, and advertisers in the U.S. can
leverage the video advertising opportunities to captivate the attention
of the global MSN Messenger community.
- Half banner. MSN will continue to offer advertisers a half banner
space in the MSN Messenger client. The format of the ad remains the
same; however, a refresh of the main window will make it more useful and
Okay, I understand the banner ads - that's the way how the world (and
also this site) tries to make revenue from free services but what's up
with this "MSN Video Conversation" where I might see a commercial in
future before I can start talking with my buddies!? 8O
Cheers ~ Arne
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