A major upgrade to Windows Live Messenger is in the works. Version 9.0 of the increasingly popular instant messaging application is scheduled for public release at the end of 2008 or early 2009, and selected beta testers have received invites for it just last week.

According to Ars Technica, the following features have been confirmed as part of Windows Live Messenger 9.0:

  • Multiple points of presence support – Ever been annoyed by the fact that logging onto Messenger from another computer logs you out of the first one? If so, you’ll be glad to be able to log on from multiple locations at once. And so will you.
  • Signature sounds – Find new and creative ways to annoy your coworkers with personalized sound signatures.
  • Per-contact sounds – That one friend who keeps annoying you with constant IMs? Give them a rude sound.
  • Animated .GIF display pictures – Now your friends can be forced to look at your baby while he’s making silly faces.
  • Links in status messages – As if there wasn’t enough to click on, now URLs in the status bar are clickable.
  • Anti-spam filter – You can now report users who spam you via IM, which should do absolutely nothing to stop them in the future.

Clues dropped by Microsoft employees at earlier conferences also hinted at Messenger 9.0 being released with a new API that allows third-party developers to create customized versions of the IM or add-ons to expand its built-in features.

I thought it might be interesting to take a poll on exactly what IM is popular with the IT professional crowd here at TechRepublic, so here goes:

Any comments on your IM of choice?