Here at Yahoo!, we aspire to make the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining. More than ever, we’re focused on building products that are beautiful and meaningful for our users. Sometimes, this means we have to make tough decisions — like closing down features that we feel aren’t adding enough value for you. This helps us spend more energy on creating experiences that make Yahoo! the most fun way to spend your time.
With this in mind, we have decided to discontinue several Yahoo! product features. This will enable us to refocus our efforts on modernizing our core Yahoo! products experiences and of course, create new ones. You can find more details below, including how the closures will work.
Yahoo! Messenger Public Chat Rooms
The Yahoo! Messenger Public Chat Rooms will close down on December 14, 2012.
Yahoo! Messenger Pingbox
As of December 14, 2012, Pingbox will no longer be available on Yahoo! Messenger. If you’ve installed Pingbox on your blog or social networks, please click here to learn how to uninstall it.
Yahoo! Messenger interoperability with Microsoft Windows Live Messenger
Yahoo! Messenger will no longer be interoperable with Microsoft Windows Live Messenger as of December 14, 2012. Microsoft buddies will still appear on your Messenger contact list, but they will be greyed out, and if you try to send instant messages to them, the messages will not be delivered.
Yahoo! Voice Phone In and Phone Out feature
Effective January 30, 2013, we will no longer offer Yahoo! Voice Phone In and Phone Out capabilities, our co-branded landline and mobile phone service from Jajah. As of today, users can no longer add new funds to their accounts, and active users who currently have a balance in their accounts will receive emailed instructions in December from Jajah on how to request a refund. You can find more information on how to ask for a refund here, and you can contact Jajah with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Free Messenger-to-Messenger calls will still be offered through Yahoo! Messenger.
Thank you to everyone who have used these features. We plan to keep innovating and building great Yahoo! products that will delight our users in the years to come.
This week we launched a new integration with Delicious.com, Yahoo!’s handy bookmark storage and sharing service.
Now when you send or receive a link in an IM conversation, you can easily save it to your Delicious account and share it with friends. Here’s how it works…
Imagine that during an IM conversation, a friend sends you a link that you want to save. It could be a cool new website, important driving directions or a memorable video.
To save it, hover your mouse on the hyperlinked web address and look for a small “Bookmark” button nearby. Click it and a window will open up where you can enter and save details about the link to your Delicious account.
You can enter in notes about the link (“Where Sarah stayed in New Zealand”) as well as tags that will help other Delicious users find your link (new zealand, eco resort, four stars).
If you already have an account with Delicious, you may need to first visit Delicious.com to link it to your Yahoo! ID. But if you’re new to Delicious, you can create your account using your Yahoo! ID right in Yahoo! Messenger.
Delicious is not just a place to store your bookmarks, it’s also a place to see what’s hot and trending and find other Yahoo! users that are into your favorite websites. But you can use Delicious just as a private place to store your bookmarks. When saving a link, just click the “Mark as Private” box.
Yahoo! Messenger also supports the sharing of Delicious.com updates. So when you save a link to Delicious, your friends will see your latest update in Yahoo! Messenger, on their profile page, in Yahoo! Mail etc. It’s a great way to share what sites you’re into at the moment. You can always turn off Delicious updates on the Manage My Updates page on your Yahoo! profile.
The Yahoo! Messenger / Delicious.com feature is available to users on Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 and 10. So what are you waiting for? Go try it out and start sharing your favorite links with friends.
I saw an ABC News story on our front page yesterday about a new site called chatroulette.com. It’s a webcam chat site where you are randomly paired with another stranger with whom you can video chat. Webcam chat communities are not a new concept, but the randomness of chatroulette is.
Started by a 17-year old in Russia, the site stirs up many discussions about inappropriate content, age requirements, and the effect it can have on users, who may be dismayed by people skipping over them once they’re connected. One comment on youtube says “Chat Roulette = Lowering self esteem, waste of time.” Chatroulette seems like the old “Hot or Not?” trend, but taken to the extreme.
Watch the ABC News report below. Is this a positive or a negative innovation? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
As you may know, Yahoo! Messenger 10 has a Y! Updates tab that lets you view your contacts in context of their latest updates. Those updates can range from their latest Messenger status update to the song they’re listening to on last.fm, or even their latest Twitter message.
While Yahoo! Messenger does not yet support the ability to send out tweets from within the program to your followers, or to receive the tweets of all the people you’re following (unless they all happen to be on your Yahoo! Messenger contact list), there are some other services that can enable this feature for you.
This week I learned about a new service called TweetSwitch that allows you to send and receive your Twitter messages within your IM program. They call themselves a “message forwarding service” for Twitter and they support a variety of IM programs, including Yahoo! Messenger.
Here’s how it works… First, you go to their website and click the “Sign in with Twitter” button. You’ll then be taken to a page on Twitter where you can sign in and link your Twitter account with the TweetSwitch service. After logging in, you’re redirected back to TweetSwitch where you can add the IM service on which you want to be able to send and receive tweets. Choose Yahoo! Messenger, then just type in your Yahoo! ID.
Note that the interface for linking your IM with TweetSwitch is a little wonky – you have to click the blue add (+) icon, add your ID, and then drag the Y! icon into the Step 1 box. When it’s completed, you’ll see a “Perfect!” completion message. If you want to also receive direct messages and replies/mentions from Twitter, be sure to configure the DMs and Mentions sections too.
After setup, you’ll be prompted within Yahoo! Messenger to confirm TweetSwitch as a friend. It will show up in your contact list and when you want to send tweets, you can click on it to get started. Similarly when tweets come in, they come in as IM messages from TweetSwitch.
From that point on, whenever you’re logged into Yahoo! Messenger (even on your mobile phone), any tweets that you normally see in your Twitter feed from those you’re following, as well as replies or retweets to your own messages, will show up as a message in an IM window. Receive all types or pick and choose what to receive – TweetSwitch lets you specify.
TweetSwitch allows you to send tweets out to your followers using a variety of commands. To start a new tweet, double click on your TweetSwitch contact, and type in “tweet” followed by your message. Then just hit Send the same way you’d send an IM message. To direct message someone type “dm [recipient's twitter ID]” followed by your tweet message. To see your last 20 tweets, type in “list / l”.
And if the deluge of tweets becomes too much, you can easily stop and start the service when needed. Just send your TweetSwitch contact the “stop” command; you’ll soon see a message confirming that service has been suspended. This doesn’t prevent you from sending or reading tweets elsewhere, it just suspends the TweetSwitch service from bringing them to you in Yahoo! Messenger. Similarly, message “start” and you’ll be up and running again.
I originally learned about TweetSwitch from a TechCrunch article. When I tried it a few days ago, there were some lags in the service, presumably because they got a quick flood of people trying it out. It is still in alpha mode so don’t expect perfection. But if you’d like to start receiving and sending your tweets within Yahoo! Messenger, TweetSwitch offers an easy way to do it.