The Windows Live Hotmail team just announced some exciting news: Windows Live Hotmail is finally integrating IM functionality within its interface. With this new feature, you can IM your Windows Live Messenger friends from within your inbox or from the People (Contacts) page without having to launch the desktop software client.
The feature arrived yesterday in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the U.S., to join the countries that received web messenger last month (France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the UK).
To access the new web IM, look for a drop-down menu up at the top of your Hotmail inbox that says “Messenger.” Even if you’re already signed into your desktop client, you can sign in again here, manage your status, view your contacts, etc.
And to start a conversation, just click on the presence indicator next to the sender’s name in your email. Alternately, you can click on the user’s display picture in Windows Live People where you’ll also have the option to start an IM conversation.