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New MSN Messenger beta leaks onto Web

MSN Messenger 7.0 is expected to be released in beta early next week.

Details of the test version of MSN Messenger 7.0 surfaced earlier this week when the software was leaked onto the Web. MSN Messenger 7.0 is expected to be released in beta early next week. The new version of the popular instant messaging service will offer tighter integration with MSN Search, allowing people to conduct queries in a search bar and within text conversations. The service features "avatars"--or personalized animations--new buddy icons called "winks," and "nudges" that make conversation partners' screens shake.

The company said it will let people sign up as beta testers when they register on its Web site.