Over the last year, Yahoo! has launched several products and features to make your online experience more social and help deepen your connections with friends. With the launch of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0, we began displaying updates from your friends alongside their status messages for activities they do on Yahoo!, like changing their Avatar or buzzing up a news story.
This week we are expanding the types of updates that can be shared with your Yahoo! Messenger friends. Now when you make updates on the Yahoo! network at places like Yahoo! Movies, Sports, Shopping, Travel, or on other social websites like Twitter, YouTube, Last.fm, and more, you can instantly share it with your friends on Yahoo! Messenger. All told, you can now share updates from dozens of Yahoo! services and nearly twenty non-Yahoo! websites (full list at the end of this post).
To get started, you need to have a Yahoo! profile (it’s free). Once you’ve set that up, go to the Manage my Updates section where you can indicate the sites from which you want to share updates. For non-Yahoo! services, located under “Share More”, you’ll also need to indicate your username. If you tend to use the same username for various services, our handy tool can quickly find your accounts.
TIP: When you’re on the Manage my Updates page, be sure to click the “Show All Yahoo! Sources” link to view all the Yahoo! sites that offer updates. And for the non-Yahoo! sites, click the “Share More” tab to view what’s available
For each site, you’ll see a list of the kinds of activities that will be shared. For example if you rate a movie on Yahoo! Movies or upload photos to Flickr, that will generate an update to your friends. Similarly if you upload a video to YouTube, tweet on Twitter or listen to music on Last.fm, those updates can be shared with your friends on Messenger.
For each site, there are different sharing options (including None if you don’t want to share updates from a particular site). In order to share an update with your friends on Yahoo! Messenger, make sure that you select “Anyone” for that site. By default, Yahoo! sites are already set to share your updates with anyone (at the time you make the update on a particular Yahoo! site, you’ll be notified that it’s going to be shared).
When you make an update on Yahoo! or on another supported site, it will appear below your status message on your friend’s contact lists (if they’re using Yahoo! Messenger 9.0). Here’s an example showing Dee’s latest update from Twitter:
The message below a friend in your contact list shows their latest update. To see their last ten updates, click on their display image and look at the list in their contact card.
Similarly, you can also see your own recent updates by clicking your display image at the top of the Messenger window to reveal your contact card. Your contact card also has a handy “Manage My Updates” link in case you need to make changes to what updates you’re sharing and with whom.
Updates are a great way to share what you’re up to with your friends. Now when you do things like rate movies, upload videos, comment on blogs, listen to music, or review a local restaurant, your friends can get in on the fun.
P.S. – We realize not all users like to share online. So if you’re not up for sharing any updates, just go to your Yahoo! Profile and uncheck the “Share My Updates” box at the top of the Manage My Updates page. But take a look at the list of services – you may find one you want to share with your Messenger friends.
List of supported sites
Updates from dozens of Yahoo! services are supported including Movies, Sports, Games, Video, Answers, Buzz, Local and more. Visit Manage My Updates to see the full list of Yahoo! sites that are supported (be sure to click the “Show All Yahoo! Sources” link).
Below is the list of non-Yahoo! sites that we currently support. More services will get added so check your Yahoo! Profile page regularly to see what’s new!
Every year, Yahoo! gets into the spirit of Earth Day and educates our users about what they can personally do to make a difference for the environment. This year, our focus is on how to be green at home and still save money. There’s a common misperception that helping the environment can weigh on your wallet, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
While you’re thinking green, why not get your Avatar in the mood too? Head over to the Yahoo! Avatars website to get decked out in fun Earth Day apparel. Then help spread the word about Earth Day (April 22) to all your friends on Messenger!
This post is a bit off-topic from Yahoo! Messenger, but a new Yahoo! product crossed my desk that I wanted to tell you about. Given all the Twitter mania going on this week, I thought you might find it interesting.
Even if you don’t personally use Twitter to communicate with friends, it can be a fascinating place to see what other people are talking about. Enter Yahoo! Sideline, a new desktop program that allows you to create and group custom Twitter searches by topics of interest. Here’s how it works…
After you install Sideline and open up the program, you’ll be in the Trends tab. This is a list of popular topics on Twitter by keyword. When I first tried Sideline this week, I was intrigued by a trend on the list, “Susan Boyle”, so I had to see what all the buzz was about (I’m glad I did!). If you see a trend in the list you want to keep tabs on, click the “+” sign to the right. That will add it as its own tab so even if the trend falls off the top list, you can still track it on your own.
The real power of Sideline comes when you customize it to keep tabs on your own interests. We launched our new Yahoo! Messenger for iPhone app last week so I wanted to see what the Twitter community was saying about it. I clicked the “+” sign at the top near the group tabs, and entered a name for my search group (Messenger). Then I clicked the “Add Search Term” button on the right. From there, I entered the keywords I wanted Sideline to search for in the Twitter stream such as “yahoo messenger” and “messenger iphone”.
There are also “Advanced Search” options which let you select additional criteria for your search such as attitudes (positive or negative tone of comments), specific people (you’ll need to know their twitter IDs), and phrases and tags. All in all, a good set of filters to help you zero in on the tweets you care about most.
You can also add multiple search terms for a group; as you add them they stack up on the right hand side. For example, I could also add a search for one of our competitor’s iPhone apps if I wanted to keep tabs on that.
You can keep Sideline open on your desktop and it will refresh automatically with the latest tweets that match your search (or click refresh to hurry it up). Each group tab updates with the number of new matches that it finds.
When reviewing the tweets in a group, you’ll see two icons to the right – a star and a talk bubble. Click the star to add it to your Favorites tab, or click the talk balloon to reply to the tweet via Twitter.com (you’ll need a Twitter account). You can also click on the ID of the tweeter to visit their Twitter page.
In the coming weeks, our Yahoo! Messenger 8.x and 9.0 Beta users (Windows) will see a notice when they’re signed in about upgrading to the latest version of Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 (18.104.22.1682).
When you see the Yahoo! Messenger Update window, click the Update Now button to begin installation. It only takes a couple of minutes and you will not need to restart your computer after it’s complete.
Not sure what version of Yahoo! Messenger you have? To find out, go to the Help menu and select “About Yahoo! Messenger”. If your version is below 22.214.171.1242 you can always visit our website to upgrade to the latest version on your own. Similarly, you can check anytime to see if you have the latest version by going to Help and selecting “Check for Updates”.
Why upgrade? 9.0 offers some new features that are not available in earlier versions such as enhanced security and anti-spam tools, inline media players for photos and video, new “detailed” contact list option with larger display images, support for Pingbox, many new skins, and more. To see 9.0 in action, check out the demo video.