Yahoo launches Messenger for Vista [Updated]

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

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Instantbird: Mozilla does chat

Instantbird
We’re starting to think there’s nothing you can’t build on top of Mozilla. There’s the Firefox web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, Songbird music player/browser, and now it looks like we’ve got a Mozilla-based instant messaging client.

Instantbird is still in early beta. But version 0.1 already shows some promise. The application is a multi-client chat program letting you connect to popular instant messaging services including AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!. You know, pretty much like Pidgin. In fact, Instantbird uses libpurple, the same code library used by Pidgin.

Version 0.1 is still pretty buggy, Instantbird has a long road in front of it. The goal for version 1.0? Make a chat client that has all the same features as Pidgin. But beyond that, the developers hope to add voice and video functionality to Instantbird, which would make it a killer multi-protocol messenger application.

Like most things Mozilla, Instantbird comes in Linux, Windows, and Mac varieties. But we don’t really recommend compiling it from source on Ubuntu unless you really know what we’re doing. We waited over 2 hours for it to compile before getting an error message.

[via Mozilla Links]

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Helio delivers the Ocean

Ocean-Horizontal-3-4.jpg

Helio announced their latest phone today, and it’s a doozy. The Ocean is a dual-sliding smartphone, featuring a QWERTY keyboard that slides to the side and a numerical keypad that slides down.

The Ocean comes loaded with all the standard Helio features you know and love — GPS with Google Maps, unlimited 3G web access, and Helio’s music store — with new goodies like IM integration to your contact list, a smart search that returns results from Google, Yahoo, and Wikipedia simultaneously, and an upgraded OS that works in both portrait and landscape.

If you’ve been looking to get a slick smartphone, this might just be what you’ve been waiting for. It’ll be available for $295 with a 2-year contract from Helio this spring.

Helio, via Gizmodo

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Yahoo! Messenger for Windows Vista

yahoo messenger for vistaYahoo! has released some previews of its newly rebuilt Messenger application for Windows Vista. Yahoo! built this version of Messenger from the ground up, and uses pretty much all of features you are used to, but with a few little tricks. Features in the new Vista version include instant messages, voice, and video. Contacts from your Live Messenger can be added to Yahoo!, and you can see and interact with them as expected. Conversations can be organized with tabs through dragging and dropping. Of course there will be some added eye and ear candy with additional emoticons, sounds and interface customization. Yahoo! has a video preview of the Messenger application running in Vista, which you can check out here. Pretty cool! Yahoo has been really going all out lately trying to steal back some market share, and I’m sure they will steal some with this rebuild. Good job Yahoo!

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Yahoo to Merge IM with Webmail Client

Yahoo said Thursday that it plans to integrate a Web-based version of its instant messaging program into the next beta of its Yahoo Mail Web application. The new client, which uses AJAX technology, is expected to debut early next year.

Google has already integrated Google Talk into Gmail, however they use separate interfaces. Yahoo’s implementation would combine the two into a single interface, executives say. The move is aimed at improving the user experience.

When responding to e-mail, in addition to allowing users to reply they could opt to instant message the contact instead if he or she is online through Yahoo Messenger. If the IM option is selected, a window for the instant messaging conversation appears within the e-mail client to continue the conversation there.

While at the current time only conversations with Yahoo Messenger users are supported, the company plans to eventually bring interoperability features with Windows Live Messenger users to the client as well.

Starting chats with users would be as simple as one click, with the option to continue through an e-mail message if a participant so desires. Eventually the company plans to also allow archiving of chat sessions, executives say.

With Yahoo’s latest move, only Microsoft and AOL now do not integrate instant messaging with their e-mail clients. While both Hotmail and Windows Live Mail both show online/offline status, instant messaging conversations are connected through the company’s stand-alone application.

“Users will quickly get used to flipping quickly between email and IM depending on “presence” – whether or not the person they are communicating with is online,” Michael Arrington wrote of the service in the TechCrunch web log Thursday. “We continue to prefer Yahoo Mail over Gmail because Yahoo Mail allows POP access to third party email services, whereas Gmail only allows access to Google’s own email service.”

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