22 Jun 2013

Yahoo! Messenger

Yahoo! Messenger


Yahoo! Messenger Icon
Developer(s) Yahoo!
Initial release March 9, 1998; 15 years ago
Stable release Windows: / March 13, 2012; 15 months ago
Mac: 3.0.1 / July 20, 2011; 22 months ago
Linux: 1.0.6 / September 2003; 9 years ago
SunOS 5.7: 0.99.17-1 / September 2003; 9 years ago
Solaris 8: 1.0.4 / September 2003; 9 years ago
FreeBSD 4/5: 1.0.4 / September 2003; 9 years ago iOS: 2.2.6/ July 12, 2012; 11 months ago
Preview release Mac: 3.0.1 Beta build 35554 / July 20, 2011; 22 months ago
Operating system Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, Symbian, iOS and UNIX/Linux/FreeBSD/Solaris (no longer supported)
Type Instant messaging client and Internet phone
License Proprietary adware
Website messenger.yahoo.com

Yahoo! Messenger (sometimes abbreviated Y!M or YM) is an advertisement-supported instant messaging client and associated protocol provided by Yahoo!. Yahoo! Messenger is provided free of charge and can be downloaded and used with a generic "Yahoo! ID" which also allows access to other Yahoo! services, such as Yahoo! Mail, where users can be automatically notified when they receive new email. Yahoo! also offers PC-PC, PC-Phone and Phone-to-PC service, file transfers, webcam hosting, text messaging service, and chat rooms in various categories.
Yahoo! Messenger was originally launched under the name Yahoo! Pager on March 9, 1998.
In addition to instant messaging features similar to those offered by ICQ, it also offers (on Microsoft Windows) features such as: IMVironments (customizing the look of Instant Message windows, some of which include authorized themes of famous cartoons such as Garfield or Dilbert), address-book integration and Custom Status Messages. It was also the first major IM client to feature BUZZing and music-status. Another recently added feature is customized avatars. Yahoo! Messenger also allows users to access Yahoo! Chat Rooms.
As of December 14, 2012, all public chat rooms on Yahoo! Messenger have been shut down as part of a series of features being changed/added/deleted.

Voicemail and file sharing

Yahoo! added voicemail and file sending capabilities to anyone. File-sharing of sizes up to 2GB was added to Yahoo Messenger.


As of 8.0, Yahoo! Messenger has added the ability for users to create plug-ins (via the use of the freely available Yahoo! Messenger Plug-in SDK), which are then hosted and showcased on the Yahoo! Plug-in gallery. Yahoo now no longer provides plugin development SDK.

Yahoo! Music Radio

Yahoo! Messenger users can listen to free and paid Internet radio services, using the official Yahoo! Music Radio plug-in from within the messenger window. The plug-in also player functionality, such as play, pause, skip and rate this song.


Yahoo's software now allows users with the most current updated versions (messenger 8 through 10) to utilize its webcam service. This option enables users from distances all over the world to view others who have installed a webcam on their end. The service is free with provided speeds averaging from a range in between 1 to 2 frames per second. The resolution of the images can be seen starting at 320 x 240 pixels or 160 x 120.

URI scheme

Yahoo! Messenger's installation process automatically installs an extra URI scheme ("protocol") handler into some web browsers, so that URIs beginning "ymsgr:" can open a new Yahoo! Messenger window with specified parameters. This is similar in function to the mailto: URI scheme, which creates a new e-mail message using the system's default mail program. For instance, a web page might include a link like the following in its HTML source to open a window for sending a message to the YIM user notarealuser:
<a href="ymsgr:sendim?notarealuser">Send Message</a>
To specify a message body, the m parameter is used, so that the link location might look like this:
Other commands are:
  • ymsgr:sendim?yahooid
  • ymsgr:addfriend?yahooid
  • ymsgr:sendfile?yahooid
  • ymsgr:call?yahooid
  • ymsgr:callPhone?phonenumber
  • ymsgr:chat - opens chat room list
  • ymsgr:im - opens the "Send an IM" window
  • ymsgr:customstatus?A+custom+status - changes the status message
  • ymsgr:getimv?imvname - loads an IMVironment (example: ymsgr:getimv?doodle, ymsgr:getimv?yfighter)


On October 13, 2005, Yahoo! and Microsoft announced plans to introduce interoperability between their two messengers, creating the second-largest real-time communications service userbase worldwide: 40 percent of all users (AIM currently holds 56 percent). The announcement comes after years of third-party interoperability success (most notably, Trillian, Pidgin) and criticisms that the major real-time communications services were locking their networks. Microsoft has also had talks with AOL in an attempt to introduce further interoperability, but so far, AOL seems unwilling to participate.
Interoperability between Yahoo! and Windows Live Messenger was launched July 12, 2006. This allows Yahoo! and Windows Live Messenger users to chat to each other without the need to create an account on the other service, provided both contacts use the latest versions of the clients. It wasn't possible to talk using the voice service among both messengers.
As of December 14, 2012, the interoperability between Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger ceased to exist. The Live Messenger contacts will appear as greyed out and it will not be possible to send instant messages to them.


There are various games and applications available that can be accessed via the conversation window by clicking the games icon and challenging your current contact. It requires Java to work.

Yahoo! Chat (1998–2012)

Yahoo! Chat was a free online chat room service provided exclusively for Yahoo! Users. Yahoo! Chat was first announced on January 7, 1997, as it was confirmed to be a feature on the very first release of Yahoo! Messenger. On March 9, 1998, the first public version of Yahoo! Messenger was released, which included Yahoo! Chat as one of its features. It allowed Yahoo! Users to create public chat rooms, send private messages, and use emoticons.
In June 2005, with no advance warning, Yahoo! disabled users' ability to create their own chat rooms. The move came after KPRC-TV in Houston, Texas reported that many of the user-created rooms were geared toward pedophilia. The story prompted several advertisers, including Pepsi and Georgia-Pacific, to pull their ads from Yahoo!.
On November 30, 2012, Yahoo announced that among other changes that the public chat rooms would be discontinued as of December 14, 2012. quoting "This will enable us to refocus our efforts on modernizing our core Yahoo! products experiences and of course, create new ones."
Until the chat rooms became unavailable on December 14, 2012, all versions of Yahoo! Messenger could access Yahoo! chat rooms.
Yahoo! has since closed down the chat.yahoo.com site (which is now a redirect to a section of the Yahoo! Messenger page) because the great majority of chat users accessed it through Messenger. The company is still working on a way to allow users to create their own rooms while providing safeguards against abuse. A greyed-out option to "create a room" was available until the release of version 11.
A recently added feature in Yahoo! Messenger allows users to connect with their Facebook friends through the messenger.


Yahoo! Messenger users are subject to unsolicited messages (SPIM). Yahoo's primary solution to the issue involves deleting such messages and placing the senders on an Ignore List.
As of 2007, it was estimated that at least 75% of all users who used Yahoo chat rooms were bots. Yahoo introduced a CAPTCHA system to help filter out bots from joining chat rooms, but such systems generally do little to prevent abuse by spammers.

Release history

  • Windows - - March 13, 2012
  • Mac OS X - 3.0.1 Beta (build 35554) - January 10, 2011
  • Unix - 1.0.4 - September 2003. It can still be downloaded from Softpedia.
Yahoo! released a preview version of Yahoo! Messenger for Windows Vista. It had been designed to exploit the new design elements of Vista's Windows Presentation Foundation and introduced a new user interface and features. It lacked some basic functions such as webcam support. It has since been discontinued.



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