One of our team members, Mazi, got married last month under the rotunda at San Francisco’s City Hall. His wife, Mariana, is from Argentina and her family was unable to fly up for the wedding. So at their reception, Mazi and Mariana hooked up their laptop and webcam, signed into Yahoo! Messenger, and shared their live celebration with Mariana’s family thousands of miles away in Buenos Aires.
Bringing webcams along to big events seems to be a growing trend, especially in the delivery room. In August of last year, an airman stationed in Afghanistan was able to watch the birth of his baby girl back home in Oklahoma with the help of the hospital’s webcam live feed. Read the full story
Congratulations to Mazi and Mariana! Maybe they’ll inspire you to think of fun ways to include your far away family and friends in your next big event.
We know you’ve waited a long time for this… The new version of Yahoo! Messenger for Mac Beta now has voice calling!
With this new version, you can make free PC-to-PC calls or sign up for a Phone Out account to make calls from your Mac to regular or mobile phones worldwide for as low as 1¢ a minute (see rates). And if you want friends to be able to call you on your Mac from any phone, sign up for a Phone In account and choose a number.
Now that our Mac version has voice, users can also enjoy two other handy features: free voicemail and call forwarding. If you’re away from your Mac or signed out of Yahoo! Messenger, friends can leave you a voicemail which is then delivered as an email attachment to an address of your choice.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss any calls, use the call forwarding feature to immediately send incoming calls to any regular or mobile phone number. Note that you do need a Phone Out account to use call forwarding.
There is also a new Voice & Calls section in the preferences menu. From there you can set what email address should receive your voicemails, what number your calls should get forwarded to, and handy things like whether or not you want iTunes to pause when a call comes in.
You’ll find the voice features in a new “Voice & SMS” button in your IM window. From there you can start a call, or send a free SMS (text) message to a friend’s mobile phone (note that your friend may be charged for receiving your SMS message depending on their mobile phone data plan).
The main contact list window also has a button near the bottom that opens up a dial pad. This is handy if you have a number you need to call that’s not associated with a contact.
Check out this short screencast to see how the new voice features work:
If you’re curious about the voice features but aren’t ready to sign up for a Phone Out account (or don’t have a friend you can call for free on PC-to-PC), try the “Make a free test call” button in the Voice preferences menu. During the free call you can record and playback your voice to check out the quality.
We really want your feedback on this new version, so after you’ve had some time to try it, please visit our feedback page to let us know what you like and don’t like.
[This tip was included as a link off an early article on Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta, but I wanted to highlight it again in case some of our 9.0 Beta users missed it the first time around.]
When we first launched 9.0 Beta, we received complaints from users about how we changed the way a conversation lays out in the IM window. We switched to a format where your friend’s name appears on a line, and their IM message appears on the line right below, creating an extra line. Many users didn’t like the extra space this takes up in the window. So, one of our team members, John Dunning, added a keyboard shortcut that allows 9.0 Beta users to switch to their preferred formats for their IM conversations. Here’s how it works…
There are three options for your IM conversation format:
This format mirrors version 8.1. Every message sent has its own line and the sender’s name in front of it.
This is the current format that ships with 9.0 Beta. Messages are grouped and the first message starts on the line after the sender’s name.
This is a hybrid of 0 and 1. Messages are grouped but the first line of someone’s message appears on the same line as their name.
If you like option 1 the best, there is no need to make any changes. Option 1 is the formatting that’s already built into Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta.
If you would like to use 9.0 but prefer either option 0 or 2, then follow the directions below to enable 9.0 to format your IM conversations accordingly.
1. Sign into Yahoo! Messenger 9.0
2. Click on a friend to open a new IM window. Start your conversation so there are a few lines of text.
3. Click your mouse in the message area ABOVE where you type in your text. It will feel strange because nothing will really happen, but just click up in that area where the conversation is listed.
4. Then use the following key combination on your keyboard to activate your preferred format: ctrl + shift + # For example, if you want option 2, hit ctrl + shift + 2 on your keyboard. IMPORTANT: Use the number keys on your keyboard’s row of numbers; do not use the numeric keypad that some keyboards have on the right side.
5. You’ll see the text format change right there in the window. You can try each one to see how it looks. Whichever one you do last will be the format used.
Whatever you select will be persistent between sessions, conversations etc. If you want to change to one of the other formats in the future, just follow steps 1-4 above and use the appropriate option number in your key combination.
Note that for these key combinations to work, your version of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 may need as much as 24 hours to reflect the change. If you don’t see the IM format change right away, wait a day and try again.
It’s that time of year again when students, alumni and fans around the country put on their favorite college colors to cheer on their team in the NCAA College Basketball tournament.
Grown men will cry, women who don’t normally follow sports will become rabid with NCAA fever, and productivity in offices will take a hit as workers follow the games from their cubicles. Of course Yahoo! Messenger has a few items to further fuel your basketball obsession…
When it comes time to taunt your friends about their team losing or making a bad play, check out the NCAA audibles. There’s a referee ready to charge your friend with an offensive foul, a baseball cap-wearing superfan (complete with horn), and a laid back player who illustrates what it means when the defense is “taking a vacation”. To access the NCAA audibles, click the Audible icon in your IM window, click “More Audibles”, then “See All Audibles” and select NCAA Basketball (Yahoo! Messenger 8.1 or 9.0 Beta only).
You can also show your team pride by dressing the part. Head over to the NCAA section on Yahoo! Avatars to find jerseys from over 25 schools including Duke, University of North Carolina, UCLA, Kentucky and more.
To find out more about the tournament and follow all the action, check out NCAA Basketball on Yahoo! Sports. You still have time to pick your teams before the first game – download the tournament brackets: Men’s | Women’s
And if you’re on the go and want to follow what’s happening, go to http://m.yahoo.com/ncaa from your mobile phone for the latest scores and highlights.
One of the handiest features of the new Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 BETA is the inline video player. Unlike older versions of Yahoo! Messenger, 9.0 BETA automatically plays videos from services like YouTube and Yahoo! Video right in the IM window while you chat. No longer do you have to click the link that a friend sends you to watch on a separate website. Here’s how it works…
If a friend IM’s a video link to you from a site like YouTube or Yahoo! Video, a small video window will automatically appear in your conversation. Just click the play button on the video window to start viewing. The inline video player currently supports videos from Yahoo! Video, YouTube, Google Video, Im.tv, and Veoh.
To share a video from Yahoo! Video or YouTube with a friend, first get the link to the video from the website. On Yahoo! Video, click the “Share” button near the bottom of the video and copy the link in the “Link” box. Or copy the URL from the browser address bar (sample link: http://video.yahoo.com/watch/2202820/6961859).
On YouTube, you can copy and paste the link from the browser address bar, such as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-jEc5UA_Ew. If you see a YouTube video on another site that you want to share, click the “YouTube” logo button in the lower right corner, then copy the link in the ‘url’ box.
Once you have the link, just paste it into the text box in your IM window and hit Send. We’ll take care of the rest! Looking for some fun videos to share? Check out the 2008 Yahoo! Video Awards.
P.S. – Are there other video services you often share links from? Let us know by leaving a comment here on the blog and we’ll try to support it in future versions of the inline video player.