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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