Windows Live Messenger is Microsoft's instant messaging clientfor its Windows Live network. Bundled with the Windows Essentials package, Windows Live Messenger does more than just provide instant messaging. You can also use it to connect to various social media networks, make video calls over the Windows Live network, send video messages, transfer files, and send SMS messages to your contacts' mobile phones.
Here's a quick rundown of some useful features, tricks, and add-ons for Windows Live Messenger.
Windows Live Messenger can be used to chat with your contacts across the Windows Live network, but it can also be set to chat with contacts on various other social networks and services such as LinkedIn, Flickr, Google, or Yahoo!. You can also view status updates and other shared media.
First, you'll need to associate your other accounts to your Windows Live Messenger account. In the main page, go to "Add->Add people from other services."
From here, you can manually add contacts through their email addresses by manually copying them in. Alternatively, you can use the "Add people to your contacts list" to add your contacts from other social networks.
From here, you can select individual networks that you want to link to your account, such as your Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and Twitter. You'll be asked to log in to the relevant accounts you want to link, and then Windows Live Messenger will take it from there.
In no time at all you'll be able to chat with your Facebook friends, view your Flickr photos and videos, or keep up to date on what your LinkedIn contacts are up to in real life.
Windows Live Messenger also has a Video Call function for communicating with your WLM contacts. When you doubleclick on a contact's window to start a conversation, look for the "Start a video call" option if your friend has a webcam connected. You can set the video chat window to full screen, or leave it on the side if you need to work on other things while making the call.
Editor's Note: Both you and your friend must be using Messenger through your Windows account. And you may want to ask your contact if they're up for a video call through chat before sending an invitation.
You can also send video messages to your Windows Live Messenger contacts. Mouse over a contact and select the "Send a video message" option to record a short video clip (up to 30 seconds) with your webcam. You can review your video, rerecord it if you're unsatisfied, and then send it out. Your friend will receive an email with your video message. You can also view your video message through your SkyDrive account (which comes as part of the Windows Live Essentials package).