It feels a little strange writing my first very basic review of a Microsoft application on the Apple Mac, while there should not really be any strangeness to it at all, it must be the feeling that Microsoft isn’t always welcome on the Mac according to some users views. So what is difference with this new version of MSN Messenger on the Mac? Well not too much but there are some new features worked into this version that are not yet available on the PC versions.
Save every word and emoticon
Now as you send instant messages, a new auto-archive feature helps keep track of what was said, or sent, by you and your contact list. Save everything all the time, or save each conversation as you see fit. Either way, the archive browser displays messages by contact so you can quickly confirm today what you were promised yesterday — by a colleague or a friend.
Make quick updates
Now a little goes a long way. If you're sick but working from home, simply click on your name and type "@home sick/working". Online members of your contact list will see it instantly. And if you decide to step out to visit the clinic, just click and type to let everyone know. It's that easy.
Organize by dragging contacts
Now dragging a contact is all you need to put members of your contact list in their places. Create your own groups, such as "Family," "Work," or "RunningClub;" then drag each contact into a group. Of course, your offline contacts can still be sorted to a "Not Online" group.
Elegant OS X user experience
The Messenger 3.5 interface complements your other OS X applications. It's smooth. It's sleek. In a word, Mac-like.
Customize your text
You decide what your message looks like to everyone else. Set the size, color, and style to match your personality — yet another cool way you can express yourself with MSN Messenger.
Share files or pictures
Drag files or pictures to your message to send them along.
Talk to MSN Messenger on any platform
Macs and Windows-based computers have no problem talking when MSN Messenger is doing the translating. The same goes for mobile devices. As long as you have MSN Messenger, and the person you want to talk to has MSN Messenger, an instant message is the easiest way to chat.
These fun emoticons will change the way you talk. By using a simple pop-up menu, you can choose from a variety of expressions that represent facial expressions, hand expressions, beverage glasses, special occasions, and more.
Adjusting your status is a convenient way to control your online presence. For example, you can set Messenger to "Away" when your computer is idle. Or, for added security, you can set Messenger to make it appear that you are offline, even when you are not, to block whomever you choose.
Quick access to application
Through the Messenger icon on the Dock, you can jump directly into key MSN Messenger features. It's quick and convenient, just like instant messaging should be.
As you can see it looks like a lot has gone into making this an enjoyable MSN Messenger experience for Mac users, the program itself is simple to install, as are most things on the Mac. It was simply a case of downloading the file, unpacking it and then it is ready to go. On the first load you setup your account, or just use the one you have assuming you have a Passport account. Once this is done all of your contacts from the PC version are already here, the only difference being that you can’t use voice or video with this version on the Mac, let’s hope Microsoft remedy that with some of the upcoming versions that are due for release soon.
So what about these new features that have yet to make it into the Windows version? The main one being that you can now have MSN Messenger automatically archive every conversation you have, this is quite a useful option, although it is not one that I will use often as I hardly ever need to save a conversation I have on MSN Messenger, and if I did do, I was always happy to just save the text myself. There are a few other options for this archiving of conversations such as having Messenger automatically delete the archives after a few days or weeks depending on how you want it setup.
The other new addition to MSN Messenger on the Mac is a quick way of updating your status, this is done by simply clicking your name and then entering whatever text you want to show what you are up to at the time.
Overall MSN Messenger 3.5 on the Mac is another great improvement over the last version, it offers a very good alternative to iChat on the Mac and with newer versions of Messenger on the way, things can only get better.