Last night the highly anticipated Group Chat update and SDK were published to the web.

The SDK can be downloaded from here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=c3dc291c-db47-47e8-9964-0c077776ddb0

The update can be downloaded from here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e5924bf9-b042-4c53-b4a6-79c7e5c9749b&displaylang=en

The new key updates are:

· Group Chat Add-ins. A Group Chat Add-in is a Web page embedded into the Group Chat client that provides additional functionality to a chat room. It can react to messages as they are sent or received, and can format outbound messages as they are being sent. You can use the Group Chat Administration Tool to manage Add-ins and both the Group Chat Administration Tool and Group Chat client to assign Add-ins to chat rooms.

· Improved Office Communicator integration. You can now take advantage of additional Microsoft Office Communicator features directly from the Group Chat client, including audio conferencing, video conferencing, and group instant messaging (IM). You can also initiate e-mail communication with other users by using the Microsoft Office Outlook® messaging and collaboration tool.

· Improved performance for large chat rooms. While Group Chat does not limit the number of users that can join a chat room, the Group Chat Server now includes a throttling parameter that you can use to limit the updating of the participants list.

· User Colors in chat rooms. You can now specify a background and text color for all of your conversations in Group Chat. The colors will also be applied to participant lists, chat history and filters.