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RIP Yahoo Messenger: Looking back at top features of iconic messaging app

Long before WhatsApp and Facebook, there was Yahoo Messenger. The iconic messaging application from late 90s, will shut down on Tuesday. Let’s take a look at the top features that made Yahoo Messenger so special.

tech Updated: Jul 17, 2018 17:27 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Yahoo Messenger,Yahoo Messenger Shuts Down,Yahoo Messenger Apk
Yahoo Messenger: Adieu (Shutterstock)

The Yahoo Messenger is no more. The iconic instant messaging app, which preceded modern apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, reached the end of its road on Tuesday. Users still clinging to the service will now be redirected to Squirrel, a new instant messaging app, and will be given six months to back up their chat history.

The archaic messaging app was launched as Yahoo Pager on March 9, 1998. It was rebranded Yahoo Messenger on June 21, 1999.

“We know we have many loyal fans who have used Yahoo Messenger since its beginning as one of the first chat apps of its kind. As the communications landscape continues to change over, we’re focusing on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs,” said Yahoo on its website last month.

“After July 17, 2018, you won’t be able to access or sign in to Yahoo Messenger. We recommend that you delete the app after you’ve downloaded your chat history and anything else you’d like to save.”

Yahoo Messenger: The first real global messaging app
Yahoo Messenger was one of the first messaging applications to make waves in an age of dial-up connections and broadband speeds that just wouldn’t go beyond 1 Mbps. When cyber cafes mushroomed in metros and smaller towns in the early 2000s, youngsters spent hours chatting through the messaging application.

However, the application was quickly forgotten in the smartphone era, with youngsters starting to lean towards apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. And now, with Yahoo Messenger gone, let’s take a look at the top features that made the application so special.

Chat rooms
One of the most entertaining elements of the Yahoo Messenger app was its public chat rooms. You could shuffle between several chat rooms and engage in public conversations. The UI was pretty simple and easy to use, even by modern standards. Small things like ability to change the font size and style made the public chat rooms look pretty entertaining. Yahoo Chat Rooms was killed in 2012, seven years after the software disabled users’ ability to create their own chat rooms.

Video calls
Long before WhatsApp’s video call or FaceTime on iPhone, Yahoo Messenger allowed its users to make video calls. The experience, however, was below par when compared to modern high-res cameras and speedy connections. But even with a low-resolution VGA web camera and minimum broadband speeds, making video calls through the desktop was a lot of fun.

Buzzing
Has somebody been ignoring your message for too long? Just send a Buzz. The entire message box will shake up, and you will have the attention you want. Buzzing was a very interesting feature, even if it was just a fun one. Yahoo Messenger’s Buzzing seemed to have eventually inspired the BlackBerry BBM ping.

Stickers, emojis and more
Long before Facebook Messenger got stickers, Yahoo Messenger had a wide catalogue of custom stickers – including some India-specific ones. Its emojis were also quite popular.

So long, Yahoo Messenger.

First Published: Jul 17, 2018 13:33 IST