November 12, 2007 on 11:17 am | In Avatars, Features, Fun Stuff | 98 Comments
Up for a little field trip? Head over to the new Avatar Towns, a virtual world designed especially for your Avatar fashion needs. Now you can drop in to different stores to find just the right outfit for the virtual you. Cruise by Island Style to find the perfect swimsuit, or jog into Top Score for some sportier attire. And even though Halloween is over, you can still pretend to be someone else after a stop at Costumes ‘R’ Us.
When you arrive in Avatar Towns, be sure to say hello to Jessica and get some directions on where to go. Once you’re in a shop, you’ll be placed on a modeling pedestal while you browse the racks. Click on items that you want to try on and you’ll see them appear on your Avatar. If you don’t like the item once it’s on, click on it again to remove it.
At the bottom of your pedestal are some helpful controls – Redo and Undo arrows, a Save button, plus a button to toggle your background on and off. When you’d done, click the Exit button to return to the main street where you can then head into other stores.
Avatar Towns is in Beta for now, but there are plans to roll out other towns so you can shop ‘til you drop. I just hope they add a spa – my Avatar is going to need somewhere to relax after all this shopping!
P.S. – Into Star Wars? Check out the new collection of Star Wars avatar gear.
November 7, 2007 on 9:06 pm | In 9.0 version | 294 Comments
Thanks to everyone who has tried Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta. We really appreciate the feedback you’ve been providing. Tonight we’ve pushed out an update to the Beta (version 22.214.171.1247) that you can download by visiting http://beta.messenger.yahoo.com.
Much of the feedback we’ve received has focused on a handful of areas:
- Viewing your contacts by their Yahoo! ID vs. their full name or nickname. We’ve added this preference back in to the product. Download this latest version, then go to Messenger > Preferences > Appearance.
- New expanded contact list. If you’re finding that this new look is too spacious for you, go to the Contacts menu and select “Compact List”. This will reduce the size of the Avatars and condense the height of your list overall.
- Message formatting in the IM window (the line break after the name rather that starting text on that first line). We’ve developed a set of handy keyboard shortcuts to give you some other options for your IM window. The shortcuts are a temporary fix; we’ll build something more permanent into a future release of 9.0.
- Installation problems for Windows Vista users. In this latest refresh, we’ve made changes to the Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta installer that should fix most of the Vista errors. If you’re on Vista, please give it another try and use our feedback page to let us know if you still encounter issues.
- Games are missing from the IM window. There were some changes to the Yahoo! Games platform that required us to remove them from this version for awhile. We are trying to get them back into a future release of 9.0; we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you love your Pool or Checkers, we recommend returning to Yahoo! Messenger 8.1.
- The LAUNCHcast plug-in, along with all the other plug-ins like Yahoo! 360, still work in 9.0! Just click the Plug-ins button near the bottom of your Messenger window to find them.
There are also a few things about Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta that you may not know about. One is that 9.0 is the first version of Messenger that is unicode compliant. This means that it supports IMs and status messages in many more languages than before.
A few other interesting tips… 9.0 will remember your status between sessions. So if your status on a Saturday night says “Partying like it’s 1999!”, be sure to change it when you get to work on Monday. Also, if you have both a Yahoo! and a Windows Live ID for a friend, your friend will appear in your contact list only once. To IM your friend on the Windows Live network, click the drop down arrow next to the IM button below their name when you hover on them.
And lastly, if you usually show both online and offline contacts in your list, you can set a preference to bold your online contacts to help distinguish them. You’ll find that preference under Messenger > Preferences > Appearance (Show online contacts in bold text).
Thanks again for taking Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta for a test drive and providing feedback. We’ll keep you posted here on the blog about further developments.
November 6, 2007 on 5:26 pm | In Voice | 28 Comments
Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights”, is a very significant Indian festival that symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
In honor of this popular festival, Yahoo! Messenger calling rates to India during the two days (36 hours) of Diwali will be reduced to 4.9¢ a minute. Check out the promotion page for complete details. This reduced calling rate to India is available from November 8 at 10:30am PST (Nov. 9, 12am IST) until November 9, 10:29am PST (Nov. 10, 11:59pm IST).
To get this great rate, sign up for a Phone Out account on Yahoo! Voice. Then just make your calls to India using Yahoo! Messenger during the promotion. If you already have a Phone Out account, you will automatically receive the 4.9¢ per minute rate on calls to India during the promotion.
IM the Diwali promotion to a friend
From the looks of some Diwali pictures I found on Flickr, this festival is warm and colorful. Lamps (called “diyas”) are lit in all households, brilliant fireworks light up the sky, gifts are exchanged and people feast on a variety of delicious Indian sweets and snacks made specifically for this occasion. To learn about all things Diwali, head over to diwalifestival.org.
Want to add a little bit of Diwali to your IM conversations? Click on one of the images below to make it your display image (you need to be signed into Messenger):
And the best news? Even after Diwali ends, you can still save with our low rate of just 7.9¢ a minute on calls to India.
« Previous Page
November 1, 2007 on 12:38 pm | In News | 128 Comments
Recently, Yahoo! held its quarterly “Hack Day” at our Sunnyvale, CA headquarters. At Hack Days, Yahoos from different areas of the company come together to display their ideas for product innovations. Sometimes they are completely new product ideas, other times they are extensions of an existing product.
This time around, there were several inspiring hacks that made use of Yahoo! Messenger, particularly our web version. These hacks aren’t available to the public, but I like to share ideas like this on the blog to give you a peek into the creative side of our Yahoo! developers.
Webcam in Yahoo! Messenger for the Web
Our web version of Yahoo! Messenger is lighter on features that our full version, and webcam support is one of the most frequent feature requests we receive. Two developers from our web team, Tie Zhong and Jonathan New, developed a hack that enables flash-based webcam video within Yahoo! Messenger for the Web (screenshot). No extra software or download needed. Hopefully we’ll see this soon in the real Yahoo! Messenger for the Web.
Polyglot: Translating your IMs in real-time
Have you ever found yourself struggling to make your IMs understood to someone who doesn’t speak your same language? Allen Rabinovich’s award-winning hack, “Polyglot”, could help. This hacked version of Yahoo! Messenger for the Web includes menus near the text box that let you choose a language that your IM should be translated into. Talking to someone who speaks Spanish? Type your English IM into the text box, choose “Spanish” from the menu and click send. You’ll see your message appear in the conversation, translated instantly into Spanish. Polyglot works by leveraging the free language translations tools at http://babelfish.altavista.com/. There’s a rumor that a Polyglot-enhanced Web Messenger might be available soon to play around with…I’ll keep you posted.
Yahoo! Answers friend
Hackers Rex Lam, Ahmed El-Helw, and David Arvan developed a new kind of Yahoo! Messenger friend that could easily be called a “know-it-all”. Their Yahoo! Answers bot for Messenger lets you send questions to it (How do I make a tuna melt sandwich?), and sends you back an answer provided by another user on Yahoo! Answers. Leave off the question mark and your answers come as matching links from del.icio.us (screenshot).
Thanks to all the Hack Day developers for sharing their ideas with us.