This is a difficult question simply because of the richness of the Windows Ecosystem. I run a variety of applications on Windows that I use almost everyday, whether its Microsoft Word, Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 V2, Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft Outlook 2007 and Windows Media Player 11. But when I try to think about it from a fundamental point of view, some of those applications I mentioned are not detrimental, because they are available on the majority of PC’s that run Windows. So, what is that one app I just cannot do without? The app that triggers some weird paranoia, anxiety moments if I don’t have access to it on a daily basis? I thought about this carefully and looked at my usage patterns and management of the application itself. So, I would conclude that Windows Live Messenger is my must have, can’t do without, can’t cope without it application of them all.
Why is it so important to me?
Windows Live Messenger to me is my line of communication, just like my cellular phone, I am able to stay in touch with many friends and family. Windows Live Messenger goes beyond the traditional PC, just the other night, I saw my brother come online and I we started a chat session. I broke the ice, saying, ‘you are up rather late tonight’, he replied, ‘I’m at work’. I asked ‘where’, he said at a ‘Cell’ tower. ‘So late?’ and ‘how are you getting Net access?’ I asked. He said from his Blackberry phone (he works for a Cellular carrier, so he is on stand by 24 hours). This particular scenario for me shows how powerful and connected Windows Live Messenger is, not necessarily the connection which could be EDGE or 3G, but the anytime, anywhere, almost any device experience Windows Live Messenger provides. In addition to being a connected platform, I have formed some life long friendships through Messenger over the years, to the point I have gotten the chance to meet persons face to face I got to know through Windows Live Messenger. One of the things I have discovered that others have agreed with is the ice breaker experience it provides. Being able to get to know persons over a long period of time from around the world establishes a trust and comfort when that opportunity arrives to actually meet in person. I remember traveling abroad and my only form of contact was through Windows Live Messenger being able to utilize features such as voice and video allowed me see my family and them to see me – all with the help of a free Wi-Fi connection.
How long have I been using Windows Live Messenger?
My first experience with Instant Messaging was MSN Messenger 2.2 that came with Windows Millennium Edition back in 2000. I was a bit scared at first, since it was a new experience for me, but I adjusted quite fast to this new way of communication when I discovered a few friends from high school were also using the service. I have upgraded to every version ever since and have enjoyed the fast pace level of innovation the platform has delivered with each release along with the opportunities to know so many wonderful persons and cultures from around the world. Here is a list of some the countries I have gotten to know people from:
Australia, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, USA, France, Germany, Pakistan, United Kingdom, China, India (and many others I am sure I can’t remember). Its quite amazing when you can say, ‘ I know a person or two from these fascinating lands and one of the engaging experiences that makes Windows Live Messenger such a worthy and powerful application/service for me.
Every now and then I try out Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger’s main rival in the IM field, but I have discovered quickly that I know limited group of contacts who use the service. In fact, the majority of my 313 Windows Live Messenger contacts are mostly Hotmail, MSN or Live members. With the release of Windows Live Messenger 8.1, Microsoft in partnership with Yahoo! integrated support for Live Messenger users to communicate with Yahoo! Messenger users on their respective services. Apart from being able to chat with Yahoo! contacts, Windows Live Messenger delivers some unique enhancements that makes it the best platform for instant Messaging, features such as photo-sharing, personalized theming capabilities, integration with Windows Live products and services, ability to sign into multiple locations and devices make it best choice for me and the must have application on all the computers I use.