Last night Yahoo launched a new beta, its WPF powered IM client – Yahoo Messenger for Vista. A demo was shown at CES in January 2007, however performance was noted to be poor and as a result there has been a 12 month delay in getting the first beta out. When you also consider that certain features such as voice and video chats have been removed from the publicly available build, it suggest just how troublesome the new client has been to develop.
So how does Yahoo Messenger for Vista compare to existing Yahoo and Windows Live products? Brandon and Long have both express their thoughts, with the consensus seeming to be that poor performance has resulted in a feature-basic client being presented at this time.
- The user interface looks great and is fun to use. For me it was the small things such as changing colour.
- Tabbed chatting. I’m sure there must have been a good reason why this hasn’t been integrated in Windows Live Messenger yet, unfortunately that reason escapes me for the moment. There have been design ideas around how to implement tabbed chatting in MSN Messenger/Windows Live Messenger up in the hallways of RedWest for a while now, I wonder when somebody will actually do something with them…
- File transfers upto 2GB. Oh sure we have Shared Folders in Windows Live, but who actually uses those?
- An official sidebar gadget. I really don’t know what to say for this one, Microsoft has seemingly abandoned sidebar gadgets to 3rd party developers for the last 12months and here comes Yahoo to ship a gadget at the same time as the beta application itself. Go Yahoo!
- The complete install took absolutely no time at all. Its just a shame that performance from this point onwards isn’t so good.
- Performance – not great, especially given the 12month gap in getting this from CES to now. Looks like they might need another 6 months or so until release in order to refine it, which although not a bad thing, could mean they drop some more advanced features from the final release.
No 64 bit support. Brandon touched upon this, and like him, I’m a recent convert to 64bit. This is definitely an area where Microsoft is improving its own support quite rapidly, hopefully this will filter out to those building on Microsoft technologies.See update below
Althought not perfect, Yahoo have just pushed my expectations up considerably higher with this beta release. You can try it out for yourself here.
Update: Yahoo just released an official version with x64 support. That is a speedy response to user feedback, impressive. WL Messenger team take note please.