Yahoo today announced availability of the Yahoo! Messenger 10 beta. What’s in the new beta? High-quality video calls, a “Y! Updates” view of your contact list that turns Messenger into a Twitter stream, new ways to sort your contacts and support for 16 different languages.
High-Quality Video Calls
They have revamped the one-to-one video calls, building it right into the chat window, improving the video quality and synchronizing the audio with the video. You can swap window positions (between your preview and the person you are viewing), display both windows side-by-side, and put the call on mute or hold.
There are some caveats. The new video call requires both parties to be running Yahoo! Messenger 10, and the changes don’t apply to one-to-many webcam broadcasting.
Y! Updates View
The new Y! Updates view of your contacts is more interesting to me, as it is a unique way of displaying your contacts, sorted in a live stream of updates that will be familiar to Facebook and Twitter users. The most recent updates will appear at the “top” of the contact list. Updates can come from Twitter, Last.fm, Yahoo! Buzz, Flickr, nearly 20 non-Yahoo web sites, and (of course) Y! Messenger status updates.
Why is this interesting? Yahoo is incorporating Twitter and co-opting the real-time update stream in way that other IMs have not quite done. Other IM programs like Digsby and Trillian Astra allow you to see updates from Twitter, but they display them as pop-up alerts, not as a view of your contacts. By turning the contact list model into a real-time stream sorted by the latest updates, Yahoo has transformed the contact list into something more dynamic and engaging.
The features are interesting, but keep in mind that this is still beta software and there probably are bugs. If that puts you off, stick to version 9.
It’s been less than one month since the initial launch of Yahoo! Messenger for the iPhone, and the Yahoo! Messenger blog reports that an updated version is already available in the iTunes App Store. Yahoo! Messenger 1.1 promises an improved reliability and sign-in experience — a big problem for many early adopters.
The Yahoo! Messenger app remains free, works with both the iPhone and iPod Touch, and now supports the landscape keyboard — a nice touch if you log a lot of hours on IM.
Yahoo also added a “Report a Problem” feature that gives you a direct channel back to Yahoo for problems or even suggestions.
Yahoo product manager Sarah Bacon also thanks everyone for sharing their feedback on the beta version 1.0.
Here’s some additional feedback: Change the “available” indicator in the contacts list from yellow to green (like every other online indicator on the PLANET!). Please.
More screenshots below, courtesy of Yahoo:
The new iPhone application is available for free and gives you basic instant messaging capability with a few nice extras. Of course, you can see who is online and chat with your friends. You can also share photos, or view an archive of recent conversations.
Yahoo! Messenger for iPhone also has a special idle state, so if you answer a phone call you will continue to receive IMs. As long as you return to Yahoo! Messenger within 10 minutes, you can pick up your conversations right where you left off. It’s not quite running in the background, but it’s a nice extra until Apple provides the long promised push notifications sometime this summer.
It’s interesting that Yahoo! now has three applications available for the iPhone that all give you the ability to send and receive IMs on the Yahoo! Messenger network: this app, OneConnect and Yahoo! Mobile. They all have a slightly different flavor, but it seems that Yahoo! needs to sort out their iPhone strategy.
Note that unlike it’s desktop siblings, Yahoo! Messenger for iPhone will let not you chat with your Windows Live Messenger (formerlly MSN) contacts. For that, you need a multi-network program like BeeJive, IM+ or Palringo. But if you primarily use Yahoo! Messenger and don’t need to connect to other IM networks, this app should suit you well.
Thanks to our forum member Youngistaan for the tip!
Yesterday at the CTIA Wireless conference in Las Vegas, Yahoo! announced the availability of Yahoo! Mobile supporting over 300 devices, and provided a sneak peek at Yahoo! Messenger for the iPhone.
Yahoo! Mobile comes in two basic flavors, an application (available for iPhone, Windows Mobile and a few others) and a web-based mobile version for everyone else. They share a similar look, and do a pretty amazing job of integrating services from a wide range of popular choices. News, email (including Gmail), instant messaging, social networks — they are all available.
In related news… Yahoo! Messenger for iPhone
Announced yesterday–but not yet available for download–was Yahoo! Messenger for iPhone. This is somewhat curious, as Yahoo! Mobile (including the iPhone version) and Yahoo! oneConnect (which is also available for the iPhone) already support Yahoo! Messenger. So with this “new” product, you now have three ways from Yahoo! to connect to Yahoo! Messenger. And that’s not even considering all the third-party options (Nimbuzz, Beejive, Palringo, etc.).
Granted, Yahoo! Messenger for the iPhone is more full-featured, but the multiple products still leaves me wondering if they have a cohesive plan for all these products. Check out the video demo:
Useful Links and Other Opinions
- Yahoo! Mobile – official site
- Sneak peek: Yahoo! Messenger for iPhone – Yahoo! Messenger Blog
- Yahoo! Mobile for Web Launches Across More Than 300 Devices Around the World – Press Release
- Yahoo Gets It Right: New Mobile Website, iPhone App Launch – Search Engine Land
- Yahoo Takes Mobile, Messenger to iPhone – PC World
- Yahoo Rolls Out iPhone App at CTIA Wireless – eWeek
Yahoo! Pingbox, their embeddable IM application for web pages, is now available for Facebook. You can add a Pingbox to your Facebook profile and visitors will be able to IM you without downloading or even signing on to Yahoo! Messenger. And if you use Yahoo! Messenger, you can receive IMs from your Pingbox even when you are not signed into Facebook.
This new Facebook application has the same customization tools available in other Pingbox versions. You can personalize your greetings, change the look and optionally require visitors to give themselves a nickname before they IM you.
Adding the Pingbox application to your Facebook profile works differently than adding it to other websites. For Facebook, you visit the Yahoo! Messenger Pingbox application page in Facebook.
- Pingbox now available for Facebook – Yahoo Messenger Blog
- Yahoo! Pingbox
- Yahoo! Pingbox for Facebook
Yahoo! Messenger is one of the most popular instant messengers. It’s well-integrated with the myriad of Yahoo services out there, so if you’ve ever signed up for Yahoo! Mail or My Yahoo!, you can use the same login and password for Yahoo! Messenger (and vice-versa).
Yahoo! Messenger was initially released for Windows in 1998 as Yahoo Pager. Since then, Yahoo! Messenger has grown to include versions for Mac, Unix, web-based IM and–most recently–a web-based communicator called Pingbox.
Yahoo! Messenger is free to download, supported by advertisements in the contact list and chat windows. It offers both basic chat services (text chat, emoticons, avatars), advanced features (file transfer, video and voice chat) and some unique capabilities (IMVironments).
Yahoo! Messenger for Mac
Often when a program begins life as a Windows app, the Mac version is more of an afterthought. Yahoo! Messenger for Mac is an exception. It was designed from the ground up for the Mac, leveraging the common user interface elements of OS X. The Mac version compares well to the Windows version, with support for Yahoo! Voice as well.
The Mac version is a hefty install though, consuming over 50MB of disk space.
- Download Yahoo! Messenger
- Yahoo! Messenger support forum at BigBlueBall
- Y! Messenger Plugin Gallery
- Y! Messenger Plugin Software Developers Kit (SDK)
- Call regular phones from Yahoo! Messenger
Last updated on March 14, 2009