Yahoo Messenger 10 beta: A legitimate Skype rival?

It seems like just yesterday that Yahoo’s Messenger team rolled out version 9 (it was a little less than a year ago, in fact.) The upgrade was so dramatic and overdue that it’s a little surprising Yahoo has already tweaked its chat client, now parading Yahoo Messenger 10 beta to beta testers and curious chatters. We’re glad they did. Even though the changes may not please everyone uniformly, nor should they incite ire. The features build off Yahoo Messenger 9 and emphasize social networking and improved video calling.

You’ll be able to learn more about the social networking aspects from the gallery above. This post will focus on the video features.

VoIP and PC-to-landline calls aren’t new to Yahoo Messenger, but the icon that calls out video chats is. Most of the major IM clients support voice-over-Internet calls with Web cams. It is Yahoo’s attention to video quality makes this build a closer competitor to Skype for Windows, which is a VoIP client first, enriched by chatting, file sharing, emoticons, and games. Yahoo Messenger (and Windows Live Messenger, etc. for that matter,) are chat apps at the core that have layered on other P2P features.

Skype is still ahead in terms of total features, like screen sharing, its most recent contribution to the VoIP community. However, the Web chatting experience was good enough on Yahoo Messenger 10 beta in our tests that we might prefer to use it to start a casual video call if the app is already running, rather than fire up Skype. Admittedly, our tests were limited by the callers’ proximity to each other, fast data connections, and strong computing configurations. We’ll need to keep up the calling with a cross-section of international users to get a more accurate litmus. Since the improved video calling only works with other Yahoo Messenger 10 beta users, we may have to wait for further adoption to test these theories.

Full story :

http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-10322729-12.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

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