Yahoo has released a beta version of Yahoo Messenger 9 for Windows, the latest edition of its instant messaging software. In addition to a whole new look and feel, the new version adds an inline media player that lets users shape images, maps, and even video from sites like Yahoo Video and YouTube with no extra downloads.
Yahoo Messenger 9 features a new look and feel for the all-important contact list, offering both an image-filled detailed view or a space-saving compact new, plus brand new skins and emoticons (does the world really need more emoticons?) inspired by entries from Yahoo’s Emoticontest earlier this year. The new beta also offers direct Flickr integration so Flickr users can quickly share photos, or save images received directly to their Flicker accounts. The beta also adds new features for voice calls (incoming Phone In and PC-based calls can be forwarded to another number even if you’re signed out), and the system can now send email messages with MP3 files of voice messages. The beta also adds support for six new markets: the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India (Hindi), and Vietnam, bringing the total number of markets Yahoo Messenger supports to 25.
However, the landmark feature of the beta is probably the new inline media player, which lets user view maps, photos, and videos (including Yahoo Video but also Google property YouTube) right in the instant messaging window: no browser, and no separate download. The feature works between folks who are both using Yahoo Messenger 9
Yahoo warns the release is beta software and not fully polished yet, but it does run on both Windows XP and Vista. The company expects a final release early in 2008.