Microsoft is testing a web-based MSN Messenger client that will allow users to connect to the instant messaging service without the need to install a client application.
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Users would be able to install a web-based client when installing a full client is not possible. This could be on a public computer in a library, at a school, at a conference or when using a locked-down corporate system, for example.
Web-based instant messaging is not new. AOL has offered Aim Express, a web client for its AOL Instant Messenger and several third-party websites offer web-based access to instant messaging services, including MSN Messenger.
The full version of MSN Web Messenger will be released later this year, according to the test website. Microsoft has been soliciting feedback from a test website with limited connections but removed the website on Monday, limiting the beta to an internal test only.
"The site post is part of our testing process. MSN is still testing the product and has nothing to announce regarding future implementation or a testing result," a Microsoft spokeswoman said.
The beta version of MSN Web Messenger requires Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape 7.0, Mozilla 1.6 or newer versions of any of these web browsers. Users also must disable pop-up blocking and have a Microsoft Passport account, according to the test website.
Joris Evers writes for the IDG News Service