One of the world’s most popular instant messaging (IM) network client, Windows Live Messenger which previously known as MSN Messenger, has released Windows Live Messenger 8.1 Beta. It’s the first not-so-major yet not-so-minor upgrade and beta to WLM since it was officially released in June 19, 2006. Windows Live Messenger 8.1 Beta features a few improvements to existing stuffs and changes to improve user experiences.

Windows Live Messenger 8.1 Beta features include:

  1. Roaming identity of display name, display picture, personal message , status and personalization follow from computer to computer.
  2. Redesigned and updated contact cards with easy access to contact information.
  3. Redesigned and updated emoticons, winks, backgrounds and display pictures menus which include a recently used list and easy access to featured content where typically the first 4 are free.
  4. SMS Phone Book.
  5. New Contact Emotion.
  6. Status Menu includes Sign Out.
  7. Report abuse function.
  8. Vista Presentation Mode that automatically change the Messenger status to Busy.
  9. PC-to-phone calling with two free calls to virtually any phone in the world.
  10. Better server performance.
  11. Automatic updates.
  12. Improved sign-in performance.

WLM 8.1 Beta allows users to make high quality PC-to-phone calls to any landline and mobile phone in the world through Verizon Web Calling, a service from Verizon that is behind Microsoft call termination for the Windows Live Messenger. If you’re new Verizon Web Calling users, then you can make two free three-minute phone calls to almost any landline or cell phone to almost every countries worldwide.

Download: Windows Live Messenger 8.1 Beta (resource no longer available).

Update: Windows Live Messenger 8.1 (for Windows Server 2003 and x64 XP) and Windows Live Messenger 8.5 are released for free download.