You'll get the most out of MSN Messenger if you're already a member of MSN or have signed up for its free services. Otherwise, there are better chat clients. MSN requires that you create an account with its own Hotmail (or Passport) program to install the messenger client, and entering your demographic information is not optional. You get a standard chat experience, both one-to-one and multiuser, and extra services such as NetMeeting, which is awkwardly focused on the kinds of remote-conferencing tasks handled through standard VPNs these days. One seemingly attractive feature, Browse the Web Together, turns out to be a feature of MSN 8, not the messenger itself. Prominent tabs for MSN's online services, such as Expedia and MSNBC, are here as expected, and you can sign up for each service to customize the content.
MSN Messenger is an instant-messaging program that notifies you when your friends are online so you can send messages or chat with several friends at once. In addition, MSN Messenger notifies you when you have new e-mail in your Hotmail account and allows you to access your inbox with the click of a button. You have full control over who can contact you and view whether you are online. At any time, you can see a list of all users who have added you to their lists, and you can easily block them if you choose to do so. You can also invite someone in your list to meet over the Internet or to play an Internet game using NetMeeting. The program will even notify you when someone you are communicating with is typing so you can avoid overlapping messages. MSN Messenger also offers integration with Outlook Express 5.0.
You can visit chat rooms and join in, arrange your contacts into groups, select emoticons from a drop-down list, and get quick access to all of MSN Messenger's features with a single click.