Hot on the heels of the news about Mountain Lion, Apple has released a beta of the Messages application.

messages_screenshot

Download Messages Beta and get a taste of what’s coming in OS X Mountain Lion. When you install Messages, it replaces iChat. But iChat services will continue to work. And Messages brings iMessage to the Mac — just like on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running iOS 5. Here are the features you can expect with Messages:

  • Send unlimited iMessages to any Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.*
  • Start an iMessage conversation on your Mac and continue it on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
  • Send photos, videos, attachments, contacts, locations, and more.
  • Launch a FaceTime video call and bring the conversation face-to-face.
  • Messages supports iMessage, AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, and Jabber accounts.

Click here to download the beta (although as of 2.15pm UK time on the 16th February there was a problem with the download – Apple advise to check back in a few hours).

UPDATE: The download link is back!