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Messenger for Zune HD released

A new free Windows Live Messenger app for the Zune HD lets you connect with your Messenger and Facebook friends, and is a good precursor to the social experience on Windows Phone 7.

Yesterday the Windows Live team at Microsoft announced the release of Messenger for the Zune HD.

I'm not much of a Messenger user, but one of the big things Microsoft added to the new version of the desktop app is Facebook integration, and that same functionality is built into the Zune version of Messenger. After connecting your Facebook and Windows Live accounts, you can see all Facebook updates and conduct Facebook chats from within the Messenger app. (There's already a standalone Facebook app for the Zune HD; this new app is best suited for users who straddle the two services.)

Text chat with Zune HD Messenger
Text chat on Facebook from the Zune HD using the new free Messenger app. Microsoft

The Messenger app also provides different ways of looking at Facebook content: you can sort your friends' Facebook updates by highlights or recently posted items, and there are dedicated menus that let you check out all recently posted photos, videos, links, and status updates. You can also see when your Messenger friends have posted items to Flickr or MySpace if you connect to those two services. I found the experience intuitive and I continue to be pretty positive about Windows Phone 7, as long as the hardware is decent and Microsoft executes the launch properly.

That means no glitches. For example, I've been completely unable to download the Messenger app from the Marketplace directly to my Zune HD device--I get a random inexplicable error message. Instead, I had to download it to the Zune software on my PC, then sideload it to the Zune. Usability bugs like that would sink Phone 7 before it got off the ground.