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Yahoo Messenger shuts down after 20 years as WhatsApp drives modern communication

Yahoo Messenger had features that were well ahead of the time and pioneered the idea of instant messaging.

  • Updated: July 17, 2018 2:39 PM IST
Yahoo Messenger

Yahoo Messenger, the early stage messaging platform from the PC era that pre-dated the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, has been finally put to sleep. Yahoo announced its plans to pull the plug on messaging service last month and has now confirmed that the service has gone offline.

In a blogpost, Yahoo confirmed that its Messenger service will not work but services like Yahoo Mail and Fantasy will continue to work as usual. Yahoo Messenger was originally released as Yahoo Pager more than 20 years ago on March 9, 1998. It was renamed to Yahoo Messenger on June 21, 1999 and led to the revolution of instant messaging clients on PC. The service was provided free of charge since it relied on an ad-supported network.

Yahoo Messenger could be used with a generic “Yahoo ID” that offered to access to other Yahoo services, namely the Yahoo Mail. At the time of its launch, Yahoo Messenger was well ahead of its time since services like Gmail and Facebook did not exist. The activity of a person on Yahoo Messenger was associated with a color where green stood for available, red for not available and yellow meant busy. These colored status indicators continue to be used on other instant messaging and video calling platforms.

Yahoo Messenger’s biggest contribution can be described as chat rooms where people could meet random people and talk to each other in Group Chats. Since people interacted random people, Yahoo Messenger also led to the rise of fake email IDs. One of the most common terminology on Yahoo Messenger was ASL, which stood for Age, Sex and Location. Most people decided whether to continue talking to a random person based on their response.

All the modern day communication involving emojis and stickers existed on Yahoo Messenger, even before they attained prominence on social media. Yahoo Messenger is dying because of its inability to modernize itself for new generation of users who have switched to platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Snapchat.

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Yahoo Messenger really lost its prominence when it reported two major data breach affecting 3 billion users during the second half of 2016. Yahoo says it is working on a replacement product called Yahoo Squirrel, being tested in a closed group via invite-only program.

  • Published Date: July 17, 2018 2:39 PM IST
  • Updated Date: July 17, 2018 2:39 PM IST