You may have already heard that, along with the rest of Windows Live wave 3, the next version of Windows Live Messenger (version 9.0) will have a new user interface.
After being tipped off by an unaffiliated yet trustworthy source who – naturally – doesn't want to be identified, Messenger Stuff can now reveal that the new interface will use the graphics effects available through WPF [Windows Presentation Foundation] where supported (i.e. on Vista and with a decent graphics card).
To put it simply, this finally means that we will see transparency effects in the various windows of the program, possibly similar to those already seen in Yahoo! Messenger for Vista. We are led to believe that the actual design has not changed much but the WPF effects have been integrated well in what is bound to be a popular new addition.
In other version 9 news, the Messenger team – as with nearly everyone else inside Microsoft – are still keeping their cards close to their chest. Whilst we do know about the knew interface and that they have moved on from a milestone 1 build to a beta 2 build (seemingly counting this an an alpha build, not beta 1), we do not yet know as much about the new features.
Presumably some, if not all, of the new features will be different to those in the aforementioned alpha version if they are not being publicly disclosed. Also, since all the other Windows Live software and services seem to be getting better integration with one another Messenger might get more integration as well, including with the mysterious "Groups" and "People".