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Xanda - /dev/project - HOWTO Page on Yahoo Messenger

Yahoo! Messenger is a popular advertisement-supported instant messaging client and associated protocol provided by Yahoo!. Yahoo! Messenger is provided free of charge and can be downloaded and used with a generic "Yahoo! ID" which also allows access to other Yahoo! services, such as Yahoo! Mail, where users can be automatically notified when they receive new email. Yahoo! offers PC to PC telephone, file transfers, webcam hosting, text messaging service, and chat rooms in various categories.

In addition to instant messaging features similar to those offered by ICQ, it also offers (on Microsoft Windows) features such as: IMVironments (customizing the look of Instant Message windows, some of which include authorized themes of famous cartoons such as Garfield or Dilbert), address-book integration and Custom Status Messages. It was also the first major IM client to feature BUZZing and music-status. Another recently added feature is customized avatars.

Yahoo! Messenger 2.5.3 for Mac, released in 2003, is the current stable version for Mac OS X. It has far fewer features than the current Windows release and has been reported to be quite buggy. In June of 2006 Messenger for Mac 3.0b1 was released as a beta, and remains in beta more than a year later. This beta has a more modern interface than 2.5.3 and includes avatars,display image viewing, BUZZ facility, and some other features comparable to those on the Windows version. However, it is still lacking the more advanced features contained in the Windows version, such as PC-to-PC calling, photo sharing, an address book and chat room access. The latest beta version (rc4 released in May 2007) also contains bugs, including a java bug when Safari 3 is installed that causes new messages to pop to the top of the window causing the user to repeatedly scroll to the bottom of the window as new messages arrive.

Yahoo! has announced a partnership with Microsoft to join their instant messaging networks. This would make Yahoo! Messenger compatible with Microsoft's .NET Messenger Service. It also made Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger compatible with Yahoo!'s Network. This change has taken effect as of July 13, 2006, - Yahoo! Messenger has integrated instant messaging with Windows Live Messenger users, and is fully functional.

British Telecommunications' BT Communicator software is based on Yahoo! Messenger. BT Communicator was withdrawn on 31st December 2006.

Yahoo! Messenger was originally launched under the name Yahoo! Pager on March 9, 1998.


  • Yahoo! Voice
  • Voicemail and file sharing
  • Plug-ins
  • Yahoo! Mail integration
  • URI scheme
  • Offline Messaging
  • Interoperability with Windows Live Messenger
  • Games
  • yahoomessenger.exe (previously ypager.exe)