As with any basic instant messaging service, Yahoo! Messenger offers several basic functions. In general, an instant messenger offers conversations between two users in real time. As a rule, both users will see the conversation line by line as it is typed. Although not required, instant messengers usually offer the ability to show away messages, reside in the system tray until needed, and offer a user buddy list [http://en.wikipedia....ant_messaging]. In addition to these basic services, the latest version of Yahoo! Messenger also offers more advanced features. Although not unique, these services make the instant messaging experience more enriching. The features described here pertain to version 7.0 of Yahoo! Messenger [http://messenger.yahoo.com].
Figure 1 - Yahoo! Messenger Main Window
The official Yahoo! Messenger site breaks the features of Messenger into four main groups [ [url="http://\"http://messenger.yahoo.com/features.php\""]http://messenger.yah...om/features.php[/url] ].
Photo Sharing Messenger makes it possible to drag and drop photos onto the IM window and share them easily.
LAUNCHcast Radio LAUNCHcast is a relatively new service that allows users to listen to music while signed into Messenger. LAUNCHcast sorts music by genre or theme and even allows the user to create their own station. The current music track is displaying in the away message which allows other users to also listen to that station.
Yahoo! Games Yahoo! provides a variety of games for users to utilize. Games are divided into single player and multiplayer categories.
IMVironments IMVironments are themes that can be used to customize a particular IM window. Both sender and receiver will see the IMVironment. IMVironments frequently have extra functionality built in or are sponsored by a third-party.
Figure 2 - LAUNCHcast Radio
Figure 3 - Yahoo! Games
Figure 4 - Heart IMviroment with File Transfer
Figure 5 Audibles
Find, Add, Share Friends As with most IM clients, Messenger allows users to find others with similar interests. This can be taken a step further by sharing entire lists with other users. The latest version allows data mining of new contacts by importing addresses from several email programs.
Yahoo! Search Utilize the Yahoo! search engine from within any IM window.
File Transfer File transfers are an essential feature among any sufficiently advanced IM client. The latest version of Messenger has improved its file transfer ability in the fact that it actually works now.
Address Book Similar to the address book in Microsoft Outlook, the Messenger address book allows additional information to be stored about a buddy.
Stealth Settings Sometimes it is desirable to not allow certain or all of your buddies to see when you are online. This gives a user the chance to hide himself from other users when needed. This setting can be applied in general, to a group, or to a particular buddy.
Figure 6 Emoticons
Figure 7 Avatars
Audibles Audibles are cute little flash animations used to express or heighten an IM message.
Emoticons These are the standard smiley faces seen in just about every IM application.
Yahoo! Avatars Avatars allow a user to create a graphic doll that represents their personality. Avatars can be customized to ethnicity, clothing, mood, and several other variables. A different type of feature, also called an avatar is also seen in Yahoo! chat rooms. These avatars are Unicode characters placed in front of a users chat response. Chat avatars are not recognized by all Yahoo! chat clients.
Display Images An image can be placed by a users name.
Skins Skins are used to customize Messenger and all of its windows. Messenger skins are akin to themes in Microsoft Windows.
Figure 10 Webcam
Figure 11 Conference
Figure 12 - Yahoo! Mobile
Voice Messenger gives the user the chance to verbally communicate with other users. Messenger 7.0 incorporates the use of free PC-to-PC calls via Net2Phone. A user can leave a voice message, see call history, and change ringtones.
Take Yahoo! with You One of the more unique features of Yahoo! Messenger is the ability to load it onto a cell phone and receive IMs away from the computer. Yahoo! offers many of its other services via mobile phone such as search and ringtones [ [url="http://\"http://mobile.yahoo.com/services?prop=messenger\""]http://mobile.yahoo....?prop=messenger[/url] ]. From a security point of view, this expansion into the mobile arena may produce many fruitful results in years to come.
Webcam Another feature ubiquitous to many IM clients is the webcam. Messenger has a few unique features not found in other IM clients such as Super Webcam and allowing multiple users to see the cam simultaneously.
Conference Messenger allows multiple users to talk together in a setting similar to a private chat room.
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