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Yahoo's new bets: messenger and regional tongues

gadgets Updated: Feb 29, 2012 15:30 IST
Himani Chandna Gurtoo

It let the email advantage slip and missed the social networking bus and seems to be losing its grip on banner ads to Facebook. Now, Internet media giant Yahoo is trying a bounceback by betting on the Yahoo Messenger — its instant message service that seems to have towered globally over its American cousin, the AOL Messenger, and the somewhat forgotten MSN Messenger from Microsoft.

The portal plans to innovate on the messenger service to add value to arrest a decline and also turn on more features for regional language users to tap new customers in Asia only now discovering the Internet.

"We are hugely investing in innovations around the Yahoo messenger service, especially on introducing several apps (applications)," said Nitin Mathur, senior director, marketing, Yahoo India. "Recently, we have added capabilities such as integration of games, status updates on social networking platforms and high resolution voice and video chats."

Yahoo Messenger, which currently caters over 3.8 million messenger Indian users, is witnessing a decline in new user registration base that it must arrest. "Yahoo messenger's personal computer based client category is in decline per se. Perhaps, casual chatting behaviour has lost its sheen after the arrival of multiple fancy conversation platforms including BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook chat and Skype," Mathur admitted.

Yahoo does not give details on the admitted decline. But it is bullish on its newly found markets from where the new user flow can be huge. "Tweaking and innovations can help us bring new clients from new found markets including Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and other Asia-Pacific regions," he said. These markets hold untapped potential in terms of new registrations and aggressive users."

Mathur said that the company's focus for the year would be to make Asian language options available across its major services including Internet search and Yahoo mail. "To deepen our language service and to boost our video library offering would remain the top agenda items for the year ahead," he said.