If you’re still using Yahoo Messenger – Yahoo’s incredibly ancient application, you better start finding an alternative soon, as Yahoo plans to shoot the Messenger, no pun intended, on August 5, 2016. You can now switch to Yahoo’s new version of Messenger which is available as a part of Yahoo Mail’s desktop application, web app and as a smartphone app, or choose any of the more effective alternatives discussed here.
Yahoo Messenger has a rich history behind it. It was launched in 1998 under the name “Yahoo Pager” – which goes to show just how ancient it was – and was a big deal in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Messenger was very popular with users in Asia-Pacific in particular. It also had a very strong following among oil traders and other investors, who used the app to exchange news and gossip on commodities prices.
Yahoo Messenger’s traditional supporters have since moved on to bigger and brighter things such as Google Talk, WhatsApp and of course, Facebook; which means there are no longer any takers for Yahoo’s legacy platform any longer.
Yahoo has done its best to revive the ailing Messenger, by updating the Messenger app on both iOS and Android in December, 2015. It also introduced a brand new design for the Messenger, but it doesn’t look like that has helped much.
As Yahoo Chief Architect Amotz Maimon explains, “In December of 2015, we announced a brand new Yahoo Messenger for mobile, the Web and in Yahoo Mail on the desktop, built on a new modern platform. This complete revamp brings users an incredibly fast, beautiful and smart way to send – and unsend – messages, photos and animated GIFs in 1:1 and group conversations. While today we provide basic interoperation between the legacy product and the new Messenger, we encourage all of our users to complete their transition to the new Yahoo Messenger as we will no longer support the legacy platform as of August 5, 2016. We intend to continue our focused efforts on the new Messenger, with a goal of delivering the best experience to our users“.
So what of the new Messenger? Switching to the new platform is not as simple as Yahoo imagines it would be. For one, there is no replacement for the desktop tool as yet, although Yahoo promises to come up with a brand new desktop application of the new version of the Messenger for both Windows and Mac soon.
Now, while the login details of the old Messenger do work with the new Yahoo Messenger, there are some obvious problems here – you cannot transfer your contacts from the old Messenger to the new version. Also, the new Messenger logs out automatically after a short period of inactivity and requires you to confirm your password every time you want it back on.
Another issue is that the legacy platform used to store all conversations locally, while the new Messenger is cloud based, which means it stores all conversations remotely. This is a problem for the traditional users of Messenger, such as commodities traders, who require a definitive record of what was said and what was deleted – for the benefit of compliance officers.
So many of the old users of Yahoo Messenger have moved on – to
Skype, QQ, Slack and ICE Instant Messenger. Reuters and Bloomberg have useful messaging tools for traders as well. Facebook Messenger and WeChat are popular as well. LinkedIn has a useful chat application too.
WhatsApp, is the most popular messaging app in the world and it is perhaps the most obvious replacement for the Yahoo Messenger, especially now that it has launched a desktop version of its hugely popular mobile messaging app.
So, even as everyone bids a fond adieu to Yahoo Messenger, newsflash – the world has moved on!