Have you tried out Yahoo!’s new home page yet? This latest version gives you even more ways to customize the page with your favorite news, sites and services.
For the new Beta page, we worked with the team behind yahoo.com to create a new Yahoo! Messenger module. This new version provides a quick view of which friends are online, plus you can easily IM them right from the page. Here’s a quick look at the features of the new Yahoo! Messenger on yahoo.com:
See all your friends in one place
Like the versions we currently offer in Yahoo! Mail, this Yahoo! Messenger module will show you all the friends you’re used to seeing in your list, plus other online friends that are in your Yahoo! Address Book. These are grouped under “Your Yahoo! Contacts”. You may see friends in there you didn’t even know were on Yahoo! Messenger so drop them a line to say hi!
Instant message or send a SMS text message
You can start a conversation with a friend right from the home page. Find them in your list and then click the IM or SMS icon to the right. This will launch a new IM window in Yahoo! Messenger where you can start chatting. Note that the SMS icon only shows up when you have a mobile number in your address book for a friend.
Search to find a contact
This one’s handy for those of you with a lot of friends. Use the search box at the top of the module to quickly find a friend in your list. Once you do, click the IM or SMS icon to start a conversation.
Click the arrows at the right of a group header to expand or collapse a group.
Change how your list is sorted
Click the Settings icon near the top of the module to sort your list alphabetically or in reverse alphabetical order.
Looking for more information on Yahoo! Messenger and its features? Check out the links to the right for help with finding the latest version, using a webcam, or getting to know emoticons.
We hope you enjoy the new homepage and find the Yahoo! Messenger module useful. Are there other features you’d like to see incorporated into Yahoo! Messenger on yahoo.com? Leave a comment to let us know.
Beginning yesterday, Yahoo! Mail started rolling out integrated IM and SMS to their Yahoo! Mail Classic users worldwide. Already a popular feature in the new Yahoo! Mail, Classic Mail users can now instant message or SMS a friend right from the Mail interface. Let’s take a look at how it works…
When you sign into Mail Classic, your IM contact list will appear on the left hand sidebar below your main folder list (screenshot). If your status says offline, just click on it and select “Available” to sign in. You’ll then see who’s available to chat and it will show you as online to other friends that have you in their address books. Or if you prefer, change your status to “Invisible” to see who’s online but remain hidden yourself. You can also set a custom status message or choose “Sign out of chat” to disable the feature altogether.
Within your contact list window you’ll see two groups: online contacts and mobile contacts. Online contacts are available friends that are in your Mail address book or your existing Yahoo! Messenger list (including Windows Live Messenger contacts). Mobile contacts are friends in your address book for whom you have a mobile phone number. Click an online contact to start an instant message conversation; click a mobile contact to send a free SMS text message to their phone*.
Once you start a conversation, a window pops up in the lower right corner of your Mail Classic page. You can move the window elsewhere by dragging the top bar or resize it by clicking and dragging on the lower right corner. As you move around in Mail, the conversation window stays put so it won’t interfere with your Mail tasks. If you’re not chatting and a new message comes in, the window pops up and you’ll hear a notification sound. If you need to move it out of the way, you can minimize the window or close it altogether.
The conversation window includes a tabbed interface so you can have multiple conversations at once without cluttering up your Mail page. Instant message on one tab, SMS on another. You’ll also find a menu full of familiar emoticons you can use in your chats.
It’s also easy to chat with friends that aren’t in your list. Click the “New Chat” link below your online contacts list, enter their Yahoo! ID (or Yahoo! email address) or their Windows Live Messenger ID and start chatting. Similarly, if you’re chatting with someone who is not on your list, click “Add Contact” in the conversation window to add them to your list. You can also add contacts from the sidebar contact list via the “Add” link in the top bar. When you add a friend to your list, you’ll be able to see their availability and status. And if someone messages you in Mail that you don’t want to talk to, click the “Block Sender” link in the conversation window to prevent further messages from them.
There are also some preferences which can be accessed from the “Settings” link at the bottom of the contact list. Change where the contact list is located on the sidebar, turn new message sound alerts on or off, or send us feedback.
A few other things to keep in mind… If you’re already using Yahoo! Messenger, setting your status to “Available” in Mail will sign you out of Messenger since you can only be online in one or the other. This lightweight version of IM in Mail Classic is just that – light on features. It’s meant to offer the basic benefits of online availability, instant messaging and SMS. For the more robust features like webcam, instant file transfer, voice, LAUNCHcast etc., stick with the full version of Yahoo! Messenger. But if you’re on a computer where you can’t install Messenger but still want to IM, the IM feature in Mail is a handy alternative.
This new feature is rolling out to all Yahoo! Mail Classic users in the next few months. If you don’t see it right away in your account, please be patient! Or switch to new Yahoo! Mail anytime to try the feature there.
Please note that you cannot remove the new feature from your Classic Mail but you can disable it so it doesn’t sign you in when you go to Mail. When the page loads, look for the IM contact list on the left hand side. Click where your status says “Available” and instead select “Sign out of Chat”. This will disable the feature and will persist when you leave Mail and come back.
After you’ve tried the new IM and SMS features in Yahoo! Mail Classic, feel free to send us feedback about your experience.
* Your recipient may be subject to a fee for receiving and replying to your SMS depending on their wireless data plan.
Yahoo! Messenger for the Web is really handy when you’re on the road or can’t download and install the full version of Messenger. But there are a couple of things that may prevent it from becoming your everyday version of Yahoo! Messenger. One is that Yahoo! Messenger for the Web runs in a full browser window which makes it easy to close accidentally. The other is that while it does play a sound when a new IM comes in, there is no “in your face” pop-up reminders for a new message like on the full version of Messenger.
Recently one of our engineers that worked on Yahoo! Messenger for the Web, Jeremy Johnstone, decided to try an experiment on his Mac that would alleviate some of these issues with the product. Using a free program for Mac OSX Leopard called Fluid, he developed a site-specific browser application for Yahoo! Messenger for the Web. By customizing the Fluid application with some code, he was able to create a desktop version of Yahoo! Messenger for the Web on his Mac that includes:
A full window interface but without the usual browser clutter
Growl notifications for IMs received when the application isn’t in focus
This version of Yahoo! Messenger includes thirty customized emoticons of your favorite Star Wars characters like Yoda, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Han Solo and many more (plus a couple of hidden emoticons).
This version also breaks ground with a new breed of emoticons – super combo emoticons. When you enter two Star Wars emoticons next to each other in a message, there’s a “galactic” interaction between them. Try typing “(vader)(obiwan)” in a message to try it out. You’ll have to figure out the other nine combos on your own.
All the favorite features of Yahoo! Messenger for the Web are included in this version. No download is required – just sign in at http://starwars.webmessenger.yahoo.com (http://starwars.web.im works too). Then start sending instant messages or text messages (SMS) to your friends. Don’t forget to throw in a Jabba the Hut emoticon every now and then.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Yahoo! Messenger from 30,000 feet! Today marks the official launch of a customized version of Yahoo! Messenger for JetBlue passengers.
Internet access on commercial flights is a new concept, and JetBlue is the first domestic carrier to test it with their new BetaBlue airplane. Passengers with WiFi-enabled laptops or Blackberry devices on the plane can connect for free to the on-board wireless network. Once connected, they can communicate with friends, family and colleagues on the ground using customized versions of both Yahoo! Messenger for the Web and Yahoo! Mail. Read more about our partnership with JetBlue.
After signing into Yahoo! Messenger you can see which of your Yahoo! or Windows Live Messenger friends are online and send them instant messages. Even if a friend isn’t online, you can use the built in SMS feature to send a text message right to their mobile phone. If they reply back, you get it right in Yahoo! Messenger. The SMS feature is really handy if you need to send news about your flight to a friend or family member (or just gripe about that kid kicking your seat).
We also added a few special status messages that let your friends know you’re flying high with JetBlue. “Head in the clouds – seriously”, “Sleeping on the Plane” and “Ugh! Crying baby on flight” are just a few. Or choose “Custom Message…” and get creative.
So what’s in it for your earth-bound friends while you’re cruising at 30,000 feet? When your status is set to one of the flight-specific messages, your friends will see your airborne status and be able to click on it, taking them to a page where they can view your flight location and status in real-time.
JetBlue’s BetaBlue plane is the first to offer these free services to its passengers. While you can’t specifically request the BetaBlue plane for your next JetBlue journey, be sure to keep your laptop handy the next you fly with them. You might just get a chance to try out Yahoo! Messenger from 30,000 feet in the air.
Director of Product, Yahoo! Messenger
Here are some photos of the launch event at SFO (courtesy of Jeremy Johnstone):