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Main article: Yahoo! Voice
Yahoo! Voice is a Voice over IP PC-to-PC, PC-to-Phone and Phone-to-PC service, provided by Yahoo! via its Yahoo! Messenger instant messaging application in the United States only. It is also available for the Mac OS X platform.
Voicemail and file sharing
Yahoo! added voicemail and file sending capabilities to their client. 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! Mail integration and Web Messenger conversation archival
Yahoo! planned to integrate Yahoo! Mail Beta and Yahoo! Messenger, with conversations being archived and stored in the same manner as emails and allowing users to search within their chat logs easily, and to have them centrally stored and accessible from any computer. However, even though both an integrated messenger and a separate, Adobe Flex-based web messenger were released in Spring 2007, the web archiving of chat sessions has only been added as a feature to the separate Web Messenger as of 2009.
Furthermore, unlike Google Talk, for which Gmail provides an integrated archival of conversations, neither Yahoo! Mail nor Yahoo! Web Messenger provide any integration with the standalone Yahoo! Messenger client; as a result, archival of conversations in the Messenger desktop client and Web Messenger is separate from each other, and does not carry over from each other.
Yahoo’s software now allows users with the most current updated versions (messenger 8 through 9) 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.
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:
* ymsgr:sendim? Example: ymsgr:sendim?myid
* ymsgr:addfriend? Example: ymsgr:addfriend?myid
* ymsgr:sendfile? Example: ymsgr:sendfile?myid
* ymsgr:call? Example: ymsgr:call?1-800-555-7654
* ymsgr:callPhone? Example: ymsgr:callPhone?1-800-555-7654
* YMSGR:chat? "opens chat room list"
* ymsgr:im? Opens "send an im window"
Offline messaging, a feature long offered by Yahoo!, allows online users to send messages to their contacts, even if said contacts are not signed in at the time. The sender's offline contacts will receive these messages when they next go online.
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. For now, it's impossible to talk using the voice service among both messengers.
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! Messenger (along with other networks such as Windows Live Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger) is often used as a conduit or "vector" for delivering malicious software such as spyware, viruses, worms, and trojans to unsuspecting computer users. The three methods used by hackers to deliver malware over the IM vector are (1) sending a file transfer with a virus-infected file, (2) delivering a message with socially engineered content containing a web address (URL) containing active malicious code and (3) sending specially crafted messages exploiting security vulnerabilities in the client software. Viruses and worms such as W32.Yalove or W32/Spybot-MQ have been identified as targeting users of the Yahoo! Messenger network.
The most common method of delivering a malicious payload is the use of social engineering to construct a message that appears to be coming from a contact on the recipient's contact list. A socially engineered message is one that is written in a friendly, informal manner, that could easily be mistaken as coming from a friend. The message usually will say something like "Click here to see pics of me from vacation!" or "Is this you?" with a web address—known as a "poison URL" -- for the recipient to click. Upon clicking the web address, the recipient is connected to a website containing active content, which is immediately downloaded to the recipient's computer. In most cases, the payload contains an installer, a number of hidden files containing text, and code which causes the same socially engineered message with poison URL to be sent to every contact on the contact list. When the message is sent to all contacts, the cycle starts again, as each contact believes they are receiving a message from a trusted friend. In this manner, IM-borne malware is capable of propagating very rapidly through company and external networks.
Worms and viruses are discovered on a regular basis by security companies, particularly by the three companies with IM-specific security products, Akonix Systems, FaceTime Communications, and Symantec. According to IM security researchers at Akonix, the number of new threats identified each month is 30 to 35, with a high of 88 in October, 2006.
Yahoo! Messenger users are subject to unsolicited messages (SPIM) and the problem remains unresolved. Blogs and websites addressing this issue are supportive of the chat environment, and writers genuinely want to continue using the service, yet express frustration about Yahoo's apparent failure to address spam and other related problems. User queries are met with forms and replies that Yahoo is "working to resolve the problem," yet there is no evident progress. As of 2007 it is estimated that at least 60% of all users who use Yahoo chat rooms are bots. Yahoo has introduced a CAPTCHA system to help filter out bots from joining chat rooms but it has done little to actually stop the problem and has only inconvenienced human users .
Yahoo! released a preview version of Yahoo! Messenger: Yahoo! Messenger for Windows Vista. It had been designed to exploit the new design elements of Vista's Windows Presentation Foundation and entitled a whole new user interface and features. It lacked some basic functions such as webcam support and Chat. It has been discontinued.
The Mac OS X client version 3.0 Beta 3 has been released: file transfers have been re-enabled as have group conferences.
- Windows - 10.0.0.1102
- Mac OS X - 3.0 Beta 5 (build 192773) - September 28, 2009
- Several third-party clients exist that can connect to the Yahoo! Messenger network, such as Adium and the now-discontinued Fire and Proteus. Adium can access the chat rooms, while the others cannot.
- Unix - 1.0.4 / September 2003. It can still be downloaded from Softpedia.
Feature and release history