Microsoft has released the first public beta of the upcoming Messenger instant messaging client version 7.0. You will want to know this is not leaked software but an official beta (you will be downloading from Microsoft's servers). As with all non-final software, you should try at your own risk.

Here's some of the new features to be found in Messenger 7:

Nudge: Nudge allows you to send a "shake" to your contact. Both your own and your contacts MSN Messenger window will shake, much like how IE windows shake using the correct javascript.

Winks: Winks allow you to send kisses, hearts and all sorts of silly cartoons to your contacts.

Games: Chess Club, Bankshot Billiards Club are included if you're a Instant Games Clubhouse member. Standard Checkers/Solitaire Showdown/Bejeweled/Minesweeper Flags and Tic Tac Toe are still included.

Activities: Activities allow you to share files, calendars, photos and perform tasks such as remote assistance.

Download packs: Download packs will allow users to grab winks/emoticons/display pictures and backgrounds straight from MSN. As these currently don't work we were unable to test them.

Deluxe Display Pictures: Although these are unavailable it seems like MSN are going to supply animated display pictures.