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New Yahoo Messenger …Screenshots

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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

39 Responses to “New Yahoo Messenger …Screenshots”

  1. Rao, you may be correct. There appears to be transcoding, be it transparent, if no packet loss exists (ie circuit). EG711 is an internet version (Gips) of G711, so it performs better than standard G711 over IP. You might call Gips and ask them the scoop on the use of EG711. I would be interested. I’ve not real familiar with it.

    They have tests to support the PSTN claim. In fact, one of Yahoo’s press releases today made reference to the testing. I believe there are a lot of fluctuation in quality based on the network. That’s why Skype has the poorest quality.

    Gips recently released a Border Engine Interface to handle transcoding and other issues at the point where two networks join (eg PSTN and IP). That will solve a lot of problems when carriers and such employ that.

    God Bless.

  2. Rick, I am surprised to hear that EG711 interoperates directly with PCM/G711. Their datasheet suggests that it is a vriable bit rate codec. I agree that it is likely they use other standard narrowband codec; but then codec can not explain for the alleged (I have not tried yet) superior voice quality.

    But then I am skeptical of such early claims. FWD was considered to offer better than PSTN quality; then it was Skype’s turn. Indeed that halo still exists, though there are anectodal stories about poor DTMF detection and things like that.

    Whatever, it is good for GIPS if such perceptions continue.

  3. EG711 interoperates directly with PCM/G711. I’m quite sure Y! has installed other standard codecs such as G723 for PSTN interoperability. But I can’t verify that.

  4. Rick, If Y is using EG711, then their PSTN gateways also need to implement that codec. That means the wholesale carrier’s gateways must support this codec. I wonder which gateway supports this codec.

  5. ruben, no i don’t own stock in yahoo or any publicly traded company or in any start-up. no advisory board seats. no holdings in any start-ups.

    meanwhile, if you are going to ask a question like that, do me the courtesy and please put your email address so i authenticate you.

  6. “Yahoo! is using Gips codecs/multimedia voice engine.”

    what specific codecs are used to compress/decompress voice in Yahoo!? does anyone have the details?

  7. Well, of COURSE this is a Windows-only release! Mac owners should be aware that the most current version of Yahoo Messenger for you doesn’t give you ANY of these options; no chance to connect via audio, no chance to connect via webcam. Also, Windows owners should be aware that you will not be able to contact Mac owners through Yahoo Messenger either. Stop screwing around and make us a decent Mac version, Yahoo! (Oh, and that goes for AIM, MSN and GTalk too; not a single one of these companies makes a decent multimedia client for Mac OSX.)

  8. I feel the real one to look into right now is Barablu..which is really ahead of Skype and Yahoo as it gives free mobile to mobile calls…and it works on Nokia 9500 which is a killer. It gives all the functionalities that are offered by Skype/Yahoo plus the free mobile-to-mobile calls which really takes the cake.

  9. Yahoo User

    Yahoo “phone out” is way better voice quality than Skype Out for voice quality. Cheaper too.

    In the UK, there seems to be some kind of link of with BT Communicator — which is BT’s consumer softphone service.

  10. Jackson West: Yahoo Messenger has included SMS messages for a while now… so yes, you can send SMS

    OM: The little headphones icon next to your friend’s icon tells you what your friend is listening to and will allow you to listen to it too… from what I understand, only if you have Yahoo! Music Engine.

    abc: Yahoo! Messenger is a far better product, and does not have the branding issue associated with Windows/MSN/Live messenger. I use all the IM clients and prefer yahoo! bar none… AOL & ICQ are dated, MSN is buggy and Google Talk, uhm, not worth mentioning?

    Guru: MSN and Yahoo! are still heavily developing their clients, and neither will scrap their own products. Which makes sense, b/c both parties use their clients to keep users tied to their services. So, there is no chance (even if hell freezes over) that they would give up control of this gateway to their own services and advertising dollars. I think it was more like an interoperating agreement between the two networks… MSN clients can chat directly to Yahoo! clients.

    Alexey: If you click on Help Menu -> About Option, then click on copyright, it will give you 3rd party copyright information. Vovida VOCAL is used for VoIP, and I dunno who (yahoo! or 3rd party) does the VoIP to Phone.

  11. what softphone does the new yahoo use – is it the old net2phone or did yahoo incorporate the dialpad? i’ve been trying to find info on this but came up with nada so far. does anyone have that info?

  12. 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.

  13. 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 won’t soon be blocked is just wishful thinking. Sorry.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.