September 30, 2008 on 10:05 am | In 9.0 version, Pingbox | 38 Comments
With the launch of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 last week, we introduced a new product called Pingbox™. Pingbox is an application that once embedded into your blog, website or social network page, lets site visitors IM you without needing to download or even sign into Yahoo! Messenger.
To get your own Pingbox, go to the Yahoo! Messenger website and click on “Pingbox”. As you create your Pingbox, you can choose a background theme and size, customize the greeting your visitors will see when you’re online or offline, and enter a custom display name for your Pingbox. So even if your real name is Harold, you may choose to name your Pingbox to better match the content on your webpage, profile etc (e.g. Dirty Harry).
Once you’re done creating your Pingbox, click the Next button and you’ll be given the code that you need to copy and paste into your web page. Note that the code can differ slightly across the social networks, so be sure to select a service from the menu before you copy and paste (or just choose “Code only” if you’re putting it into your blog or web page). Even if you don’t see your favorite social network listed, you should try using the “code only” option as it will work on most sites.
Here’s how Pingbox works for you and your visitor during a conversation. Let’s say you put a Pingbox on your MySpace page. When a visitor comes to your page, they’ll see your Pingbox with your custom invitation message. Your visitor can then type a message into the Pingbox and hit “Send” (and include an emoticon if they want). You’ll receive the IM while you’re in Yahoo! Messenger. Depending on whether the visitor gives themselves a nickname or not in the Pingbox, you may or may not know who is contacting you.
You can create up to ten Pingboxes. Create one for each social network you’re on, or create one and put it on many pages. For each Pingbox you create, a new group will appear in your Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 contact list, with the group name matching your Pingbox name. As visitors arrive on your web page, you’ll begin to see contacts appear within that group. And even if a visitor to your site is not IM’ing you, you can IM them and they’ll see the message in Pingbox (assuming they’re paying attention). To send all your visitors to that Pingbox a message, right click on the Pingbox group name in your contact list and choose “Broadcast an IM to these Pingbox visitors”.
If you have a lot of visitors to your page and find you’re getting more IM’s than you can handle, don’t worry! It’s easy to control your Pingbox from Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 and the website. When you’re in Messenger, you can right click on the Pingbox group name in your list and choose “Pingbox is Off”. The Pingbox will still be on your webpage but you’ll appear offline to any visitors. It’s basically the stealth setting for your Pingbox.
For further controls such as editing your Pingbox design or removing it altogether, just visit the Yahoo! Messenger website and click on the “Pingbox” button near the top of the site. You can also get there by right clicking on your Pingbox group in Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 and choosing “Edit” or “Manage my Pingboxes”. Note that deleting a Pingbox will remove it from your webpage without you even having to remove the code you placed there earlier.
You can receive Pingbox IMs while in most versions of Yahoo! Messenger but not when using Yahoo! Messenger in Mail or Yahoo! Messenger applications on your mobile phone. But if you want to be able to see the Pingbox groups and visitors in your contact list, you need to be on the latest version of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 (version 188.8.131.522 or later). This means if you’re a Mac user for example, you can still use Pingbox and receive IMs from your site visitors, but you won’t be able to see the visitors appear in your contact list.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Pingbox page on our site to create yours. We’ll be adding support for more social networks over time. If there’s a favorite network you’d like to see included, let us know in the comments (we’re working on Facebook already!). And if you want to show off your Pingbox, leave your site address in the comments so we can check it out.
September 25, 2008 on 2:43 pm | In Mobile | 10 Comments
An updated version of Yahoo! oneConnect is now available in the iPhone App Store. This update offers general improvements with stability and performance, and fixes login issues with special characters.
In addition, the mobile team fixed the MySpace log in issue. Turns out that users with a lot of contacts were experiencing timeouts when oneConnect would try to log in to get Pulse updates etc. This should be fixed now so if you were experiencing issues before, please try it again.
You can install the oneConnect update on your iPhone by visiting the Yahoo! Mobile website, or just search for oneConnect in the AppStore on your iPhone or in iTunes. If you already have oneConnect installed, you should see a red icon on the AppStore icon on your iPhone or in iTunes, indicating an update is available.
To leave feedback on this latest version or to see what other oneConnect users are talking about, head over to the oneConnect suggestion board.
September 23, 2008 on 4:37 pm | In 9.0 version | 190 Comments
Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 has officially launched as our newest version for Windows XP and Vista. If you’ve been following along and trying our Beta versions, here’s a quick list of what’s new in this final release:
- Pingbox™: Introducing Yahoo! Messenger Pingbox, a new application that once embedded into your blog, website or social network page, lets visitors IM you anonymously (or they can identify themselves) without needing to download or even sign into Yahoo! Messenger. The good news is you’re anonymous too; visitors to your page never see your Yahoo! ID. Pingbox is great for giving your site/page/profile visitors a quick way to chat with you. I’ll do a full post on Pingbox later but in the meantime, go create your own custom Pingbox.
- New skins: Three new skins (Silver, Ruby Red, Mystic Black) bring the total count to twelve.
- Return of the (original) emoticons: Based on a ton of feedback from users, we politely escorted the larger emoticons from the premises and brought back the smaller, original designs.
- Ignore list enhancements: This feature had become a litte buggy, so we fixed it in this release. The “ignore anyone not on my Messenger List” option won’t affect messages when you’re in a chat room, but it continues to apply to IMs.
If you’re brand new to Yahoo! Messenger 9.0, here’s a list of all the other great features it offers:
- Inline video & picture viewer: When a friend sends you a video link from a site like YouTube or a link to an online photo, they will show up right in your IM conversation. For videos, a full player appears; just click the play button to watch it right it in your IM window.
- New emoticons inspired by our users: Last summer we held a contest inviting our users to submit ideas for new emoticons. Six of them made the cut: thumbs up, thumbs down, “It wasn’t me!”, hurry up, rock on!, and “Don’t want to see!!”.
- Import Contacts wizard: Add friends to your Yahoo! Messenger contact list from address books you have on other online services like Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, Orkut…over twenty services in all.
- Yahoo! Updates: Keep up with your friends by checking their updates alongside their names in your contact list. If they Buzz up a story, update their profile on MyBlogLog or change their Avatar, you’ll know about it.
- Call forwarding & new voicemail delivery: Now you can forward incoming calls from Yahoo! Messenger to your mobile or regular phone (Phone Out account required). We’ve reworked voicemail too; new voicemails are delivered as MP3 attachments to the email address you specify.
- Yahoo! Games are back: Just click the “Activities” button in the IM window to choose a game to play with a friend. Toki Toki Boom anyone?
- Changes to the look and feel: In addition to new features, we also reworked the status message menu, making it easier to share custom messages and web links. We also added two views for your contact list – detailed (larger display images, full status with updates) or compact (smaller images, one-line name and status). To change the contact list view, click the menu button to the right of the contact search bar.
Thanks to all the users who participated in the 9.0 Beta program. Your feedback was invaluable in helping us fix bugs and improve the product. But don’t stop now – we still want to hear your feedback! Stop by our feedback form anytime to let us know your thoughts on this final version of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0.
Download Yahoo! Messenger 9.0
September 17, 2008 on 2:58 pm | In Features | 49 Comments
Over the last couple of years, the number of products that Yahoo! Messenger offers has increased. We re-launched the Mac version, introduced Yahoo! Messenger for the Web, and kicked off Yahoo! Messenger for Vista. And our original Windows client is on its 9.0 release.
One of the challenges of having different versions for different platforms is achieving feature parity across them. Our versions that have been around for awhile tend to have more of the core features; newer versions like Messenger for Vista are still growing and developing their core features.
How do you find out which version of Yahoo! Messenger is right for you?
The first place to look is on our website where you’ll find a chart that details which features are available in each version of Yahoo! Messenger. If there’s a particular feature that’s critical for you to have, just find it in the list and confirm which versions support it. For example, if you have a Vista PC and webcam in Messenger is a critical feature for you, you’ll need to use Yahoo! Messenger 9.0.
Below is a simple chart showing the breadth of features across our different versions. Our 9.0 version, which also works on Vista, has all the features like webcam, voice, chat rooms, file transfer etc. Move down the chart to Messenger in Mail and you’re getting just the most basic features like being able to tell when your friends are online and sending IMs.
While our web-based versions will continue to offer the more basic features, we are working toward feature parity across our downloadable clients for XP, Vista and Mac. But in the meantime, I hope you’ll find this information helpful when deciding on the right Messenger for yourself or a friend.
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September 10, 2008 on 11:19 am | In Mobile | 50 Comments
Today, Yahoo! OneConnect launched for the Apple iPhone. Built by the mobile team at Yahoo!, oneConnect is designed to help you communicate with not only your Yahoo! Messenger friends, but also the friends you have on social networks like Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Youtube, Bebo, Dopplr, Friendster and Twitter.
Here’s a quick rundown of oneConnect’s top features:
Full address book
oneConnect integrates contacts from your Yahoo! Address Book, iPhone, and many social networks. To add social networks to your oneConnect, tap on the “Settings” icon at the bottom, then hit “My Accounts”. Once you’ve added a social network account, oneConnect will import all your contacts. Tap on the “Contacts” icon in the bottom bar to access them.
Send and receive instant messages, SMS
Once you sign in with your Yahoo! ID, your entire Yahoo! Messenger contact list will appear. Just tap on the “Message” icon in the bottom bar, then tap the “+” in the upper right corner to start a new IM (or start one from a friend’s listing under “Contacts”). You can insert your favorite emoticons into your conversation and you’ll see your Avatar or display image as well as your friend’s.
When you’re messaging, you’ll notice a “Y!” icon to the left of the text box. Tap on that and it changes to an SMS icon. When you want to send a SMS message, make sure the SMS icon appears there and just start typing. Note that you must have the mobile phone number for your friend already entered into their contact info. To go back to sending IMs, tap on the icon again to bring up the Y! icon.
Updates from your friends (Pulse)
In addition to IMs and SMS text messages, you can keep up with what your friends are doing on your favorite social networks. Tap on the Pulse icon to see a running list of updates from your friends. See the latest photos from your Flickr friends, get status updates from your Facebook contacts, or see what your Twitter buddies have to say. Different views let you look at all updates together, just status updates or just photo updates.
You can also update your own status on your social networks from oneConnect. When you’re in the Pulse area, tap the “My Status” button in the upper right corner. Enter a new status message and it gets sent out too all of your networks at once.
Yahoo! oneConnect is available for free from the Yahoo! Mobile website. To install it, click the “Get Yahoo! oneConnect” button on the page to access the oneConnect listing in the App Store on iTunes (or click here to launch it immediately in iTunes). It works on all versions of the iPhone.
Try it out and let us know what you think here on the blog or on the oneConnect Suggestion Board.