Microsoft has announced the next generation of Windows Live Messenger, promising better sharing and interactivity.

Speaking to students at the Universidad de Sao Paulo, Steve Ballmer previewed a new Messenger service which utilises the cloud more than ever before.

The onus of the Messenger redux is very much about creating richer and more meaningful conversations through the service, adding things like social-network integration and better video and photo sharing.

Speaking to TechRadar about the new features, David Law from the Windows Live team said: "We think this release [of Messenger] is a great place for users to converse better. It's got lots of features that make that experience much richer.

"We are trying to really use the power of the client and the cloud together."

Web savvy

The internet is very much the order of the day for the latest Messenger, with search integration added, as is something called Messenger Connect.

Much like Facebook Connect, this allows any website to integrate Messenger so you can chat and share with your Messenger friends.

It also means that you will be able to send messages to Facebook and the like through the IM client.

The look of Messenger has also changed. Well, it has if you want it to. There is now two looks for Messenger: the one that's already around and a new tabbed conversation version.

Instead of having a multitude of windows up when speaking to more than one person, you can integrate these into one tabbed window.

This is something Messenger has been crying out for, so we're glad it's been added.

Messenger for iPhone

Couple this with a smartphone version of Messenger for Windows Phone and the iPhone, as well as HD video calling, and it shows that Microsoft is really trying to push Messenger as a 'use anywhere' device.

The new Messenger service is all part of Microsoft's Wave 4 version of Windows Live, so expect more news on new features for Hotmail and the like in the coming weeks.

There is no official date for the new Messenger to hit home, but expect a UK release date of Windows Live Messenger this summer, albeit in open beta form.

Want to see the IM service in action? Of course you do, so take a look below: