Windows Live Messenger or MSN (as it has become known worldwide) would turn 20 on Sunday (21) if it were still in operation. The messenger, launched in 1999, has won millions of users with its simple and intuitive interface. Although MSN was one of the top social messaging networks of the early years, the platform reached its final end in 2014, after Microsoft acquired rival Skype in 2013.
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MSN has just emerged as a simple text chat, but has gained many tools over the years. The messenger was the pioneer in launching functions that are currently common, but at the time were totally innovative features. Putting phrases like status, shaking the window to call attention, using emojis and even playing games within the program itself were some of the main functions of the software. Check out ten innovative features that were released by MSN.
MSN ended its operation in 2014 Photo: Divulgao / Microsoft
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1. Enter status phrases
It has become common in all social networks today to be able to enter phrases as status of your profile. However, such a tool was an innovation in the early 2000s with MSN. The messenger allowed his users to put sentences on his profile, as well as the possibility of sharing the songs he was listening to at the moment. The status functionality was so successful that large communication applications such as WhatsApp have adopted the tool since its inception.
You could show what you were listening to or write phrases on your profile Photo: Playback / MSN
2. The ability to go offline while online
By signing in to MSN, you could choose a "status" to indicate your willingness to chat. Among the available options was the "invisible", where the user could masquerade as offline while online at the messenger. In addition to being invisible, it was still possible to signal if it was absent.
The tool can still be seen as a breakthrough today, as flagging "online" on major social networks is a cause of complaint from many users, who argue that they do not have complete privacy.
It was possible to be invisible even when online Photo: Divulgao / MSN
3. Shake the window to call attention
One way to get friends to respond to messages was through a screen-shaking tool that made vibrating sounds, very similar to the vibrating mode of the phone. The functionality besides being effective was also fun and was very successful among users, who still remember the tool today. In addition to shaking the screen, there were other options to get attention, such as twinks of people tapping the screen or asking to respond.
The window was shaking to call attention. Photo: Divulgao / MSN
4. Warn when users sign in or out of MSN
Each time a friend entered or left the platform, a notification window would appear on the screen warning users of the change. The tool was also widely used as a method to draw attention from contacts, as several windows appeared one after the other, which was impossible not to notice. The functionality, although innovative, has been lost over time and has not been much adopted by the most successful social networks.
Users were notified when their contacts entered or left the platform. Photo: Disclosure / MSN
5. Open multiple chat tabs at once
In the early 2000s, the Internet was still quite slow compared to the current level. Even under these conditions, MSN allowed its users to open multiple conversations at the same time. The functionality was very innovative, as it made it quicker and easier to exchange conversations and streamlined the answers. Although it currently seems common, the tool was a great innovation for the time.
It was possible to open several conversations at the same time Photo: Playback / MSN
6. Make video calls
Prior to Microsoft's emergence and purchase of Skype, MSN was the only messenger that supported good-quality video and audio calls. Despite the slow internet, the tool worked perfectly and allowed its users to interact visually as well. Today, many apps and social networks provide video calling, which proves how innovative the functionality was for its time 20 years ago.
MSN video calls Photo: Playback / MSN
7. The first emojis or "emoticons"
The well known and beloved emojis came up exactly with MSN. Called, at the time, emoticons, the first emojis had a simple look and did not contain as many variations as today. However, it was possible to customize and create key shortcuts for each emoticon, making it easy for the user to use them.
It was also possible to download emoji themed packages such as animals, characters, flowers, among others. The messenger was the pioneer in creating what today would be the fever of social networks.
MSN had features like emoticons and animations, but was replaced by Skype Photo: Playback / Gustavo ATS
Another very innovative tool within the software was the option to block contacts without their knowledge. By becoming invisible to a friend, he would no longer receive notification when the user came online, just as he could not send messages in chat.
However, the locked account had no way of knowing that it was locked, as there was no warning, as is the case with most social networks today. You could lock and unlock contacts as many times as you wanted without knowing about the block.
It was possible to block contacts on MSN Photo: Playback / MSN
9. Play games within MSN
Undoubtedly, the most innovative tool that MSN implemented was games within the messenger. These were varied games, such as queen play, minefield, and paired cards with contacts.
The functionality still allowed to use the chat at the same time as the game ran on a second screen, meaning players could perform both activities simultaneously. The only platform currently adopting similar functionality was Facebook Messenger.
It was possible to play games inside MSN Photo: Divulgao / MSN
Much like the stickers currently used on WhatApp, the Winks were giant sized stickers. Commonly used to draw attention or send funny messages, Winks filled the entire screen and had many different themes. Users could download sticker packs, similar to emoticons.
Another feature differential was that the figures not only caught the eye because they were large, but also had sounds and spoke predefined phrases. Along with shaking the screen, the tool was one of MSN's main attractions.
MSN Winks occupied much of the screen and were sent with sound. Photo: Playback / MSN
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