Tuesday, May 09, 2006

New Windows Live Messenger and collaborating online

There are lots of people talking about the “public beta” of the new Windows WML_picMessenger Live today.  Check out TechCrunch and Download Squad have more details.  I’ve been using it on and off since I got an invite from Rob Bushway and like it.  What’s best?  I like the ability to use ink in Messenger.  I blogged about that here.  Normally, like everyone else, I can type faster than I write.  But sometimes sketching pictures communicates better than words alone, and that’s where WML shines.

Michael Arrington, at TechCrunch found something else I didn’t even realize was included:

The feature that I like best about Live Messenger, though is the file sharing via integration with the previously acquired Foldershare product. Drag any kind of file into a contact name in the Live Messenger, and a folder will be created on each of your desktops with a copy of the file. Any changes to the file will be replicated in both folders. I use Skype for file transfers often, and the Live Messenger integration is quite a bit simpler and easier to use.

The WLM website adds some more information about this sharing functionality:

I can already share documents using e-mail. So what's the big deal?
The Sharing Folder is easier than e-mail for sharing photos and documents. In a Sharing Folder, any time a file in the folder is added, modified, or deleted, those changes are synchronized with your contact. And it’s a simple drag-and-drop operation to share files—even simpler than the Messenger “send file” and “save as” functions you probably already know about. No muss, no fuss, no setup or configuration. Plus, you can access a Sharing Folder from your desktop to manage files whether online or offline.
This could be really powerful for online collaboration, whether your co-workers are in the next cubicle, like some, or the next country, like mine.  I can imagine working on a schedule for a short-term team, for example, and keeping everyone up to speed with the current version using WLM.  That could come in really handy.

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