From Yahoo’s press release:
Yahoo! Inc. today announced the newest public beta version of its popular Yahoo! Messenger (http://messenger.yahoo.com) service. Leading the instant messaging industry in time spent per user*, Yahoo! Messenger continues to drive innovation in the instant messaging marketplace by introducing unique features and deeper integration with Yahoo! services including LAUNCHcast, Yahoo! Games, Yahoo! AddressBook, and Yahoo! Search.
Yahoo! Messenger is the only major instant messaging service to provide consumers with access to pre-programmed or customized radio stations available directly in their instant messaging application, enabling an advanced music connection experience among friends through LAUNCHcast, a leading Internet radio music service. It is also the first major instant messaging service to offer U.S. consumers Avatars, graphical and customizable characters that represent people; and Audibles, expressive, verbal animations.
In addition, Yahoo! Messenger improves people’s ability to get the best of what they want from other popular Yahoo! services. Integrating services such as Yahoo! Games, makes it easy for fans to play two-person games including Chess, Checkers, Dominoes and Word Racer, directly in the instant messaging window. Deeper integration with Yahoo! Search through new search shortcuts makes sharing results with friends easier than ever. New features like enhanced access to contacts including e-mail and mobile information through Yahoo! AddressBook and the ability to be seen by certain friends of choice through the Stealth mode feature, provide an easy, efficient and fun way for people to manage relationships and communicate in real time.
“With this newest version of Yahoo! Messenger, we are changing the instant messaging landscape by introducing new ways for people to express, share, and manage, making instant messaging more essential to their lives,” said Lisa Pollock Mann, senior director of messaging products at Yahoo!. “By integrating unique features with compelling services from across our network, Yahoo! Messenger continues to enable powerful interactions between friends and family.”
Yahoo! Messenger New Features
With this newest version of Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! is building upon its proven history of innovation in instant messaging. The All-New Yahoo! Messenger, available for free, includes the following new features:
LAUNCHcast: Yahoo! Messenger consumers can listen to customized or pre-programmed radio stations directly from their Yahoo! Messenger application, which is now fully integrated with LAUNCHcast, a leading Internet radio music service. In addition, consumers can choose to display the current song title playing in their LAUNCHcast station as part of their status message. This allows others to tune in with them by joining their station and discovering new music.
Yahoo! Avatars: Yahoo! Messenger is the first major instant messaging service to offer U.S. consumers the ability to choose a truly animated, graphical and customizable character representation of themselves. Avatars convey moods and react to emoticons through expressions, and can be personalized with clothing and accessories to further enhance users’ self-expression. People can choose to represent themselves by using a Yahoo! Avatar or any picture as their display image. If they choose to use a picture, they can select a picture from a personal file or they can select from a gallery of pictures available from Yahoo!.
Yahoo! Audibles: People can send these expressive verbal animations directly from the instant messaging application, and can use Audibles to flirt, taunt, say hello, or express attitude. They can choose from various categories including Greetings, Games and Fun. There are 24 Yahoo! Audibles to choose from.
New Yahoo! Emoticons: This edition of Yahoo! Messenger includes 13 new emoticons in the menu such as “Rolling on the Floor Laughing” and “Sigh.”
New IMVironments: New instant messaging themed backgrounds that appear directly in the IM window include Baseball sponsored by GMC, Home on the Range, Mountain Dew, got Milk? T-Mac and got Milk? Fefe Dobson.
Yahoo! Games: Friends can now play two-player games — including Chess, Checkers, Dominoes, Pearl Hunter and Word Racer directly from the instant messaging window. With the new games tab, consumers can see how they stack up against their friends by comparing their high scores for single-player games including Bounce Out, Pop and Drop, Collapse and Text Twist.
Yahoo! Search: People now have easier access to search the Web via a query box integrated directly into the instant messaging application. Yahoo! Messenger consumers can also type search shortcuts directly into their conversations and share results instantaneously with friends.
Stealth Mode: In addition to being able to sign in as Invisible, consumers can now appear online or offline to specific friends or groups, making it easier to manage personal interactions.
Yahoo! AddressBook: People can now easily find, manage, and communicate with their Yahoo! AddressBook contacts directly from Yahoo! Messenger. As a launching pad to Yahoo! Mail, the No. 1 Web-based e-mail service, people can send e-mail directly from their Yahoo! Messenger friend’s list and from within the instant messaging application. In addition, people contacting their friends through the mobile messaging feature now have easy access to wireless phone numbers with the enhanced AddressBook tab.