Messages Beta: A review

With the announcement of Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion today, Apple also released a beta of their brand new chat client for OS X called Messages. This completely replaces iChat, but it offers something we’ve all been waiting for: iMessage support.

AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk, and Facebook chat all still work in the new Messages app, and they look better than ever. The tabbed interface is as seamless and slick as we could hope. Hands down, this is the most stylish chat client available today.

On first launch, you’ll be asked to log into your Apple account in the app. From then on, iMessage will appear in your preferences. You’ll be able to enable and disable the account, add aliases, and change which address identifies you to the receiver. You can also opt-in to sending read receipts, but nobody does that unless their business requires it. No need to help out the stalkers.

Now you have the ability to add your intended recipients and type your message.

Once you send, your message will appear. The cool thing? You can scroll upward, and previous conversations you had will appear automatically. Incredibly smart on Apple’s part, and completely intuitive for users.

Does your contact have the ability to FaceTime with you? Great! A little video icon will appear in the upper right-hand corner. When you click it, a drop down will appear that allows you to pick which address (email, phone number) you want to use to initiate a FaceTime chat. It’s fantastic, and we’re incredibly happy to see these improvements come to the Mac. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the beta today!

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