The ability to communicate with each other is one of those areas that got revolutionized in the past few decades. Looking past email, instant messaging, or IMing, was definitely one of those things that was cool when I was growing up.
But are the IM clients from the last era any relevant now? Today, I’d like to take a look at Yahoo messenger.
If you’ve been living under a rock for, well, the past decade, Yahoo messenger is an instant messaging client. Keep in mind that it’s used for personal use, mainly because of its firewall limitations. It’s compatible with most of the major platforms including Windows, Mac, Symbian, UNIX. If you carry a smartphone, download a webapp for messenger and you can sign in through your mobile.
And to quote Wikipedai:
Yahoo! Messenger is provided free of charge and can be downloaded and used with a generic “Yahoo! ID” which also allows access to other Yahoo! services, such as Yahoo! Mail, where users can be automatically notified when they receive new email. Yahoo! also offers PC-PC, PC-Phone and Phone-to-PC service, file transfers, webcam hosting, text messaging service, and chat rooms in various categories.
Yahoo! Messenger can be downloaded for free from the Yahoo! website. Installation is a piece of cake and involves clicking “Next” a number of times. But beware! In a glaring trip to the past, Yahoo wants you to download a bunch of junk. You don’t really need to install the Yahoo toolbar or set Yahoo as your homepage.
So instead of rapidly clicking on the ‘next’ button, check for a second and then click “Next”. Once the installation is complete, sign-in with your existing Yahoo! ID.
Once you sign in, you’ll need to find your friends or add already existing ones to your buddy list.
In order to make this process easy, you can import contacts from your Yahoo mail/ address book or your MS Outlook account.
The messenger will automatically find friends who already use Yahoo messenger and will send an “ Add to messenger list request” invitation.
To others, who don’t use Yahoo messenger, the application will send an email to open a Yahoo account to join the club.
The overall design of Yahoo messenger is a bit flimsy with a few unnecessary icons and options — again something from the past. You can customize the look of the Yahoo messenger with a list of predefined skins or go for funky skins from the Internet.
The user interface of the messenger consists of buddy list, address book, updates from your friends and plug-ins ( if any have been installed).
The GUI of instant message window is plain and simple with plenty of personalization features such as cool emoticons, funny audibles, BUZZing your buddy, IMvironments, avatars etc.
We are constantly in need of sending and receiving files to/from friends and colleagues. If you are looking for a messenger which lets you transfer files instantly when you chat, then Yahoo! Messenger is a great choice.
All you have got to do is drag and drop the file on the instant messaging window and whoosh! It lets you transfer all sorts of files like documents, videos or music. Yahoo! has upgraded the file limit to 2GB which is quite sufficient for a quick transfer while you chat.
The IMVironments are one of the more fun parts of Yahoo! Messenger albiet a bit polarizing. You can customize the look of the instant message window with fun filled themed environments. Most of the usual categories are covered including animals, nature, friendship, love etc. Are you a fan of comics and characters? That’s covered too!
Some of the IMVironments feature some special, snazzy effects. When you buzz, you’ll be hit by a snow ball.
I have always been obsessed with Doodle. The Doodle lets you and your friends brag about your artistic talents with multi-colored virtual crayons. There are also extra sports like tic-tac-toe and dots.
Plugins and Games
You can enhance the functionality of the messenger through a wide range of plug-ins. The plug-ins include nearly all the categories including weather, news, sports etc. All you have to do is merely install the plug in and it is ready to go!
Once installed, you will see a small tab at the bottom of the messenger where it shows the list of plug-in you have installed. You can listen to Yahoo radio, check the weather in your or other cities, get live scores of cricket matches, plan your travel etc.
Here is a quick look at a translating plugin:
As a fervent chatter, I’m always on the lookout for global chat software to meet new people. Fortunately, Yahoo! Messenger provides a wide range of global chat rooms on various topics such as Games, Health and Wellness, Astro, Romance etc..
If you are a big fan of a particular chat room, and if you intend to visit it often, just add it to your favourites so that you don’t have to search for the room each and every time. It also lets you create your own chat room and invite your crowd for a conference or a video call.
Being a student, I love to keep in touch with my Facebook buddies — constantly. In tune with the needs of people like me, Facebook integration got added to the beta version recently. You can update or edit your Facebook account status, chat with your friends, comment on their status — the entire shinding.
In conclusion, what do I think of the current state of Yahoo messenger? It’s a bit troubling actually. IM has given way to people tweeting and talking over Facebook. Not to mention the enormous paradism shift software like Skype has brought to the table. Why type out anything when you can just speak?
The client itself is really starting to show its age with no major feature addition that’s relevant to today’s users. Features like VoIP are nice but I feel it’s a little late to the table. Having said that, it’s still a nice blast from the past and I do enjoy using the features that it does have.
To answer the question in the title — yes and no. Yes, it’s good at the core things that it does and no, it can’t really compete with services like Skype.
Are any of you still using an older IM client? Finding it usable or do you think it needs to stay in the past? Let me know in the comments and thank you so much reading!