MSN Begins Testing Messenger 7.5

Microsoft's MSN division has begun beta testing the next release of MSN Messenger, version 7.5. The update brings a number of minor feature enhancements such as voice clips and animated conversation window backgrounds, along with interface tweaks including a redesigned sign-on screen and renamed buttons.

Voice clips enable users to record short messages that can last up to 15 seconds and are then played on a contact's computer. Clips do not playback automatically; a user must select the Play button to listen. Both users must be running MSN Messenger 7.5 for the feature to work.

Animated conversation window backgrounds let users add some spice to their IM chats. Microsoft has included two built-in backgrounds from Blue Mountain: a fish swimming and clocks ticking. It's likely Microsoft will offer more backgrounds that can be purchased for a small fee.

The MSN Messenger 7.5 release, build 160, has been issued to a small group of testers via Microsoft's new Connect beta portal. Public applications are not currently being accepted to the invitation-only beta program, but that hasn't stopped some testers from leaking the bits.

Microsoft has not yet announced a timetable for the client's final release.

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