The first of Microsoft's biannual Xbox 360 updates for 2007 should start to filter through to users at 10am UK time this morning, 9th May, the platform holder said while we were trying to get some bloody sleep you'd think they'd turn the thing off at 3am wouldn't you.
The "Spring Update", as it's known among people who need a handy way of referring to it on the Internet, counts support for Microsoft Live Messenger among its many introductions and tweaks. Once installed, users will be able to have up to six conversations at a time with people on their friends list, regardless of whether they're on the dashboard, in a game, listening to music or watching a film, with support for up to 20 people in one conversation window. Hopefully it still has the "block" function too.
Part of the attraction is the ability to chat with people who are on their PCs as well as those messaging you from their Xbox 360s, while any of you with mobile phones that support Messenger will also be available for a bit of inter-platform banter. In addition, you will be able to see at-a-glance whether people on your Windows Live Messenger list have gamertags and then add them to a unified friends list.
Along with support for a USB keyboard, the Xbox 360 version of Live Messenger will offer an on-screen keyboard option and support for the forthcoming Xbox 360 Text Input Device due out this summer.
Live Messenger isn't the only update to the Xbox 360's functionality though, with Microsoft using the Spring Update to roll out a broad range of additions to all areas of the console's user experience - from the way that Achievements identify themselves when you unlock them to the depth of support for various media formats. A list of changes can be found on Xbox.com.
For those of you waiting eagerly for the update to hit, Xbox Live's director of programming Larry Hryb says he will post notification on the Major Nelson blog when the Live Operations team starts to roll it out across the service, hopefully within minutes of your reading these words. Or some time ago if you're trying to confuse me by reading this after lunch.