A new build of MSN Messenger 7 beta is making it’s rounds today. Normally, I wouldn’t get too excited about anything coming from MS – but the team working on MSN is actually doing some cool shit lately.

The new build includes a couple new features that I’m pretty stoked on. You now have the option to view your friend’s avatars in the contact list in place of the little MSN dude. It can be a mini-thumbnail (as seen in the screenshot to the right) or it can be a bigger size which is about half the actual size. It pretty much makes your list unusable though, as you can only fit about 8-10 names on screen at a time.

It seems they’ve grown sick of people changing their names all the time to include quotes or ‘now playing’ messages – so they’ve created a new ‘personal message’ spot that sits beside your name in the contact list. Now those that have the awful habit of updating their name on an hourly basis can do so without annoying their friends who are trying to figure out what the hell their name is now.

My favourite new feature is ‘What I’m listening to’. As you might assume – it displays the track and artist that you’re currently listening to… in Windows Media Player – d’oh! No fear, I don’t use that shit either. There’s already a plugin available that will do the same thing, but grab it from Winamp instead of WMP. You can get it from Mess with MSN Messenger. For whatever reason, MWMM has decided to go against all the rules of usability and don’t allow you to put in a direct link – you get redirected to the homepage. So you’re gonna have to look for it.

There are many more enhancements, including integrated MSN search, My Space (MSN blogging service) and a bunch of other crap that I won’t use.