Yahoo and MSN Messengers Get Chatty

Online titans Yahoo and Microsoft are (finally) beginning to make good on a promise they made way back in October 2005: as of today, the two companies are conducting a limited public beta test of interoperatbility between users of their instant messaging services. Together, the two services would form the world’s largest instant messaging community, with nearly 350 million user accounts.

The beta test requires users sign up with either Yahoo or Microsoft and run either Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger with Voice. The beta test is available (with some limitations) to users in a variety of countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Korea, India, Italy, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Users will be able to chat each other up, see their friends’ online presence and status messages across the instant messaging services, view offline messages, share emoticons, and add new contacts from either service, all at no cost.

“This first-of-its-kind interoperability between consumer IM leaders Microsoft and Yahoo gives our customers tremendous control, convenience and freedom in their Web communication experiences with Windows Live,” said Microsoft’s Blake Irving, corporate vice president of the Windows Live Platform. “We’re proud to deliver this latest advancement in IM services that empower people to communicate with virtually whomever they want, wherever they want and whenever they want.”

“Interoperability between IM services has consistently topped our users’ wish lists, and through the collaborative efforts between Yahoo and Microsoft we are delighted to provide our combined global users with the ultimate IM experience,” said Brad Garlinghouse, Yahoo’s senior vice president of communications, community and front doors. [What a title! Can I be senior assistant executive in charge of porch lights?] “A new era for staying connected with friends and family is here and the bridge between Yahoo and Microsoft’s IM communities is bringing people around the world closer together.”

Interoperability between Windows and Yahoo messaging applications is a clear shot across the bow of AOL’s widely-used AIM instant messaging service, and marks a departure from earlier days when instant messaging clients were involved in very public day-to-day shootouts over interoperability, routinely updating their servers and software to lock users into one (and only one) service. (Somehow, now that instant messaging is becoming one or two big happy families, those days seem more exciting!)

Gaming

Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From "DirectX Box" to "720," it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in February, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (February 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Home Theater

Reasons not to mount a TV over your fireplace (and other helpful tips)

Mounting a TV above your fireplace may be popular and it might even seem appealing, but we have some concerns. We've got a list of reasons why placing your digital picture machine over a fire should be avoided, if at all possible.
Smart Home

Colored fridges are back, baby! GE’s new appliances revive the 1950s trend

GE Appliances is coloring us surprised at KBIS 2019 by introducing new hues for its signature Cafe line of smart home appliances including four new hues launching this fall to complement its black and white options.
Smart Home

Stainless steel is so last year. In 2019, it’s all about colorful appliances

For the past couple of decades, the color of choice for appliances has been stainless steel. Now, makers are introducing ovens, fridges, and dishwashers in vibrant hues to give customers a more customized, refined look in the kitchen.
Smart Home

Amazon Echo Dot vs. Echo Dot Kids Edition: What’s the difference?

The Echo Dot Kids Edition combines a free year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited with a two-year, worry-free warranty. But is the Kids Edition really all that much different than the regular Echo Dot?
Product Review

Miele's TWI180 dryer has one job, but struggles to get it done

Miele’s Heat-Pump Dryer is a compact machine that steams your clothes by recycling the water collected during the drying process. But how well does this technique work for getting clothes dry?
Deals

Suck up the savings with these vacuum cleaners on sale for $100 or less

Keeping your floors clean around the home is a constant chore. To help make things a whole lot easier, we've picked out some great vacuum cleaner deals available right now, from full-sized upright models to robot vacs.
Smart Home

1 in 4 people plan to buy a smart lock this year, study says

According to new research published by Parks Associates, one in four households in the United States are planning to purchase as smart door lock within the next 12 months to protect their home.
Smart Home

Samsung lets slip that its Galaxy Home speaker will be here by April

Samsung has been teasing customers about its Galaxy Home smart speaker, powered by the Bixby digital assistant, for some time but after neglecting to mention it at Galaxy Unpacked, the company let it slip that it's coming in April.
Smart Home

Become a master chef with restaurant-grade gear you can put in your home

Hestan's new line of customizable indoor cooking suites for home chefs features ranges and range tops in a variety of sizes, single or dual fuel sources, number of burners, and griddles in two sizes with single or multiple heat zones.
Smart Home

Mount your TV correctly with the best stud finders of 2019

Endlessly searching for a stud in your wall can be a chore. Fortunately, these stud finders are both high-tech and straightforward, meaning you can drill, nail, and hang with the utmost confidence.