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Summary:

I had reported earlier that the new and improved (hopefully) Yahoo Messenger Beta (code named Postman) was going to hit the web this week. This is a Windows PC only release and is still a beta version of the IM+VoIP client is going to be released […]

I had reported earlier that the new and improved (hopefully) Yahoo Messenger Beta (code named Postman) was going to hit the web this week. This is a Windows PC only release and is still a beta version of the IM+VoIP client is going to be released tomorrow. More photos are here and here. This is Yahoo turning the heat on Skype!

Clearly, the Yahoo has made a strong bid to integrate most of its communications properties into the IM client. I like the fact that you can send emails, make calls, or even send text messages from the same client. These and more such enhancements are the best way for IM services to differentiate from the new, more slick web-based IM aggregators such as Meebo, and still retain unique brand presence.

There is this little icon – Yahoo Music, and if I think what it is, that should make things interesting. Getting radio piped through an IM without the need for a separate client would be pretty cool. Can someone do a blow-by-blow comparison of Yahoo IM and Skype? I am just too tired to make any effort on this today.

Update: USA Today has the story. While Yahoo VP Brad Garlinghouse says that “what sets Yahoo’s service apart from competitors’ is “aggressive pricing,” Mike Masnick thinks that Brad is giving competitors a head fake. “Given everything that the company is integrating into messenger, this makes a lot more sense. They’re trying to make Yahoo messenger your “console” for communications (not just online communications). That’s a lot more interesting and powerful than starting up yet another price war over cheap calls,” he writes this morning.

* Phone Out: U.S. audiences (including Yahoo! en Espanol.) Calls within the U.S. and to more than 30 other countries can be made for two U.S. cents a minute or less. More information is here.
* Phone In For $2.99 a month or $29.90 a year, people can select a personal phone number, and receive incoming calls free. In the beta service, country-based phone numbers are initially available in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States with additional country-based numbers available in the coming months.
* Free Voicemail. Additionally, Yahoo! Mail now includes useful links to Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, enabling people to easily check their voicemail directly from Yahoo! Mail.
* Introduction of ad
* Contact Search Bar

  1. How long will it be before one of the messengers allows me to download music and pay through my messenger wallet?

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  2. So I can call a real phone number directly from the messenger? How about sending SMS?

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  3. yes jackson, that’s correct. hopefully this will be a new happy shiny moment in your life ;-)

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  4. Om, this is interesting news to say the least. I’m intrigued by the convergence of IM, email and voice communications into a single app/service. I think that this will play a very important part of the future of IM apps. I’ve written a post about this on my blog if anyone cares to read it. Great stuff, as always, Om.

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  5. This is awesome. I have so many buggy issues with Skype, but I’ve been stuck as I need a service that can dial to PC and Phone. I’ll be using Yahoo from now I guess.

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  6. I have been using this beta for over a month now (it was released internationally long back) and have used the phone out feature quite a bit. The voice quality is pretty good – better “bandwidth management” than Skype by all accounts – no official “benchmarks” to certify that but that’s what most people I have talked to say. I had trouble calling some mobile numbers in Pune (a city near Mumbai or Bombay, whatever you prefer, India) but by and large the experience has been pretty good.

    A thumbs up.

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  7. Does anyone know if there is an IM aggregator that includes Skype? (in addition to Yahoo and MSN)?

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  8. so many of the features in here are direct rip off from MSN Messenger.

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  9. These and more such enhancements are the best way for IM services to differentiate from the new, more slick web-based IM aggregators such as Meebo

    You can’t be serious. Meebo, while a nice display of Ajax and HTML wizardry is a product primarily based on an audience that isn’t allowed to use it. Their major users are people who are on networks that block IM protocols. That meebo.com won’t soon be blocked is just wishful thinking. Sorry.

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  10. Would be interesting to see how it matches up against the new MSN messsenger.
    Also, wonder which client will prevail when the future integration of Yahoo and MSN messenger network happens.

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