Around the same time as Google were launching their new client, MSN have done a more stealthy launch of their new MSN Messenger 7.5 client. I am finding it hard to remember what exactly was new in the client as I have been beta testing it for quite a while but the main features include
The idea of ‘voice clips’ is the most interesting of all of these features because it blurs the line between sending an IM and phoning someone even more. Just like in the world of mobile phones where some countries have moved from SMS texts to Push to talk, are we going to see the same happen with instant messaging where we move from text based IMs to voice clips sent via your IM client?
There certainly are times when these voice clips will come in use, in particular those time when you want to fire over a lengthy question to someone but you don’t want to spend the time typing it or you feel that it just wouldn’t get across as you intended. There are times however when it wouldn’t be appropriate, for example if you were in a meeting and you need to ask someone else a question, sending a voice clip could be quite distracting for everyone in the room. Like any of these technologies, there is no predefined way in which you should use the different aspects of the technology and only time will tell if it’s a success and where it fits in in the whole range of communication methods.