Today we launched a new update to Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta. This version includes a few new features along with bug fixes, stability and speed improvements, plus some changes to the contact list. Here’s a quick look at what’s new:
They’re not massive, but a little bit bigger so you can express yourself with more oomph. ( vs. ). We also enabled a few more for use in your status message.
Games are back!
We know you missed them in the earlier releases of 9.0, but games are now back! Click the new “Activities” button while you IM to choose a game to play with a friend (or for a plug-in). Checkers, pool, toki toki boom…you know the rest. Note that your friend needs to be on 8.1 or this latest release of 9.0 Beta to play games with you.
Status message improvements
The status message menu has been split into two parts – one where you can indicate your availability (busy, available) and the other for putting in a custom message or a link you want to share. That way even if you’re away from IM, you can still share a funny thought, webpage or video with your friends via your status message.
Yahoo! Messenger is one of the first products to showcase what your friends are doing on Yahoo!. When a friend buzzes a favorite news story or changes their Avatar, a Yahoo! Update is displayed next to that friend in your contact list (with more detail in their contact card). So even if you’re not actively communicating with them, you can still stay up to date with what they’re doing. To manage what Updates you broadcast, click on your display image in the contact list, then click the “Manage my updates” link. We’ll add more types of updates in the future.
New contact list format button
When we first launched 9.0 Beta, a lot of users weren’t crazy about the extra space in the contact list we created for display images and status messages. So we made two views available for your contact list – detailed or compact. In this latest version, we added a button next to the contact search bar to change it, along with other settings like “Show Offline Contacts”.
Import Contacts – new & improved
Select “Import Contacts” from the Contacts menu and you can add friends from address books you have on other sites like Gmail, Orkut, Yahoo! Address Book, Hotmail, AOL and many more. We’ll pull in your contacts and make it easy for you to start talking with them on Yahoo! Messenger.
Voice in chat rooms for Vista users & faster Captcha process
We know our Windows Vista users have been waiting a really long time for this. We added a fix to this latest version of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta that allows Windows Vista users on 9.0 to use voice in chat rooms (and conferences). We also changed the chat room verification process. You can now enter the Captcha code right in the chat room window instead of having to go off to another page.
New IM notification toast
If your IM conversation window falls into the background, this new feature will make sure you don’t miss out on the latest message from your friend. When a new message comes in to the background window, a small notification will pop up from the lower right corner of your screen with the beginning text of the IM your friend just sent. (You can turn this off under Messenger > Preferences > Messages.)
We’ve also welcomed some new countries to Yahoo! Messenger with this latest release. If you’re in Colombia, Chile, Peru or Venezuela, we now have versions of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 in your local language.
User feedback is extremely important to us. We hope that after you’ve lived with this new version of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta for awhile, you’ll stop by our feedback page and let us know what you like or don’t like about it. You can also select “Send Feedback” anytime from the Help menu in the contact list window.
To see some of these new features in action, watch the demo video below. We hope you enjoy this latest version of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta!
We told you about the new Emoticats IMVironment a couple of weeks ago. A few of the photos we used for inspiration came from user’s collections on Flickr. Here’s a quick look at those photographers and their furry friends…
“Talk to the Paw”, taken by Robin from Sandy Hook, CT, USA
Petunia, aka “Tunie”, was rescued by Robin along with her mom and two siblings. Tunie likes to do tricks, including sitting on her hind legs and begging for treats. This photo captures one of those moments. To find out more about Robin and her cast of furry characters, visit her blog or her Flickr photostream.
“Buh-bye”, taken by David G. from Chelmsford, UK
This photo is of Tilly, who joined David’s household along with her twin sister, Milly. In this shot Tilly is actually trying to catch the autofocus light from David’s camera with her paw, which makes it look like she’s waving. See more of David’s photos on Flickr
“Bad hair day”, taken by Jon H., from Vancouver, WA, USA
This photo is of Jon’s kitten, Sammy, who didn’t consider bath time to be very much fun. “Most of the time she was a good sport, others she griped and moaned and just felt sad and this was one of those times.” Sadly, Sammy died very young of a heart defect but Jon says “we enjoyed every moment [with Sammy] including this one and I have a sneaking suspicion she did too.” See more of Jon’s photos on Flickr
The Emoticats were created from these photos by Joel Yau and Sara Mordecai, two Yahoo! illustrators. Joel tells us “The Emoticats project truly was a team collaboration. I had fun creating these cat faces, expressions and cool markings – all in all a ‘meow’-velous project!”
Thanks to our Flickr users for lending their great feline photos and to Sara and Joel for turning them into Emoticats. To try out the Emoticats IMV, click here (you must be running Yahoo! Messenger 8.1 or 9.0). Or click the IMV menu in your IM window.
Photo sharing is one of the most popular features in Yahoo! Messenger 9.0. It’s really easy to share pictures from your computer or from an account on Flickr.com, Yahoo!’s online photo sharing service.
Flickr lets you upload pictures to their site which you can then share with friends, family and if you want, even the general public that browses on Flickr. Once your photos are online at Flickr, you can also access them to share with friends while you IM. Here’s how it works…
The first step is to make sure your photos are on Flickr. Flickr is free, so just head over to Flickr.com, sign in with your Yahoo! ID, and then click the Upload Photos link to get started.
Then the next time you’re on IM and want to share photos from your Flickr account, just click the “Photos” button in the IM window. This will send a message to your friend, asking them to accept your photo sharing invitation. Once they accept, a side panel opens on your IM window (and your friend’s). This is the area where you can view the photos you share.
Once the side panel is open, click the “+ Add Photos” button and choose “Add from Flickr…”. This will bring up the Flickr Photo Picker window that shows your Flickr photostream. Use the dropdown menu to choose photos from a specific set you have on Flickr, or enter a tag in the search box to find photos. When you see a photo you want to share, just click it and it’s automatically added to the photo sharing panel. Or, click the “Add All” button.
While you’re adding photos, your friend can add their own to the window from their Flickr account, or from their hard drive. Next thing you know, you’ve got a bunch of photos to look at (and discuss!). One last tip – if you want to save any of the photos your friend shares with you, click the “Save” button in the photo panel to save them to your own Flickr account or to your computer.
I picked up a new tip today for Yahoo! Messenger for Vista Beta. By using the keyboard and the scroll wheel on your mouse, you can increase or reduce the size of your contacts in your list, or zoom in and out of your IM conversation. Here’s how it works…
Click anywhere on your Yahoo! Messenger for Vista contact list window. Then hold down the Ctrl key and with your other hand, move the scroll wheel on your mouse up and down. You’ll see the contact list size menu appear and as your roll the wheel, the lever will move and the size of your contacts will change.
The same thing works in the IM window. Click anywhere in the IM window, then hold Ctrl while scrolling your mouse wheel. Voila – instant enlargement of your text (and your emoticons).
Some of our readers have let me know that they want to subscribe to feeds that are specific to their area of interest in Yahoo! Messenger. For example if you’re a Yahoo! Messenger for Mac user, you may prefer to only get updates on Mac-related articles.
This week I finally started categorizing our blog posts and as a result, you can now subscribe to feeds for specific topics. Click on a feed below to subscribe:
9.0 version – articles about Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Vista version – articles about Yahoo! Messenger for Vista Mac version – articles about Yahoo! Messenger for Mac Voice – articles about our voice services
There are a handful of other categories that you can subscribe to as well. Just click on the category name in the article heading, then add “/feed” onto the end of the URL. This will bring up the feed page which has a subscribe button on it. For example, if you’re interested in a feed about Avatars, you can go to http://www.ymessengerblog.com/blog/category/avatars/feed to subscribe.
And if you want to subscribe to our “all-you-can-eat” feed which includes every article, just click in the “SUBSCRIBE” section on the right hand side of the blog.