I've been playing around with the new version of Windows Live Messenger for a while now and (despite the adverts) I quite like it. MSG Plus Live gives me tabs which are a must for conserving desktop real estate and it's nice and stable.
I wish someone had introduced me to my new online buddy a while ago though. I added email@example.com to my contact list and now I've got conversational access to a very smart bot at my fingertips.
Okay, it's smart but, like going a search, you have to be fairly careful about wording. You can ask it "what is the capital of Mongolia" or "What time is it in London" and it'll give you the right answer. But ask it "What's the best way to drive from Boston to New York?" and it gets a little confused.
It would be interesting to know the etiquette of talking to a bot. How many people say "Hi" and "Thanks". More interesting I think it going to be watching how this bot can evolve to reach beyond Encarta to the other Live services (such as Local) and improve it's understanding of questions.