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Microsoft launches video messages

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Microsoft has unveiled Video Messages, a service that combines the flexibility of e-mail and voice mail with the personal expression of a video call; it is the video version of voice mail.

Video Messages allows consumers to record and send personalised videos that their friends and family can access anytime, anywhere they are online* ¾ the perfect solution when they are not available for a live video chat.
Microsoft is offering this new service through a LifeCam video messages gadget and a Web site so everyone can get in on the fun. Video Messages is the perfect way to send a personalised "happy birthday" message to a friend or have the kids leave a quick "hello" message to grandma across the country when she is not home.
"Video Messages offers a groundbreaking way to communicate," says Dorothy Prinsloo product marketing manager at Microsoft. "It provides a free, easy and fun way to stay connected and share the special moments in your life without thinking twice about time zones or busy schedules; you'll never have to plan a specific time for video calling again."
The best way to experience Video Messages is with a LifeCam video messages gadget, available for people running Windows Vista and using a supported Microsoft LifeCam.
By downloading the new gadget, LifeCam users can create, send and receive video messages from their desktop. They can even select six of their top friends who will always be visible in the video messages gadget – just like storing top friends' numbers on speed dial for easy access.
This added convenience is a great benefit for LifeCam customers because the Video Messages controls are always available; they can just click on a friend's image, record a video and hit send.
Consumers also can easily use Video Messages through a Web site, which will work for any Windows Live customers. From the Web site, consumers can record a personal video message and enter the e-mail address of a friend or family member, who will receive a notification of the video via e-mail. Recipients who are also Windows Live customers can even respond with a video of their own.
"We are thrilled to have Video Messages expand the LifeCam products' connection to Windows Live," says Dharmesh Mehta, group product manager for Windows Live. "With more than 460 million Windows Live customers around the globe and the increased popularity in video communications, we are excited to be a part of this great solution for keeping people in touch."