Yahoo to Preview Next Generation Messenger at CES

The product is designed specifically for Windows Vista and uses the Windows Presentation Foundation to build new features on top of the communication features in Yahoo Messenger.

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Yahoo is working on an next-generation version of its Messenger product, designed specifically for the upcoming Windows Vista operating system.

The Yahoo team has used the Windows Presentation Foundation framework to build dynamic features on top of the core communications features in Yahoo Messenger.

"We plan to bring together the best of Yahoo! Messengers easy-to-use communications suite and Windows Vistas dynamic platform to provide an engaging experience with rich animations, increased personalization and instant access to friends," said Jeff Bonforte, Yahoos senior director for Real Time Communications.

The company, headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., will use this weeks CES conference in Las Vegas to preview the product and announce its roadmap.

The current plan is to have the public beta available in the second quarter of 2007, with final release expected by the end of the year, Matthew Skyrm, the director of product management for Yahoo Messenger, told eWEEK. /zimages/6/161326.jpg

Yahoo also plans to launch a Yahoo Messenger Web log in the near future, where users will be able to share their feedback with the company, he said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about why Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer believes Vista will spur a wave of innovation.

Given that most new computers will start shipping with Vista at the end of January, and that it is expected to become the dominant operating system over time, the Yahoo Messenger team started planning for this well in advance.

The team had started looking at Vista and the new technologies it brings, and talking to Microsoft about a year ago. "We quickly realized that todays Yahoo Messenger, which is optimized for Windows XP, would not feel completely at home in the Windows Vista environment," he said.

The team also decided that "a new coat of paint wasnt really going to cut it if we want to wow users, and so we decided to work closely with Microsoft and build Yahoo Messenger for Vista," Skyrm said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about why there is no enterprise rush to the newest Microsoft products.

The new version will have a totally new cinematic user interface and visual design, and is optimized around the new and unique experience that the Vista operating system brings, he said, noting that this supported the teams philosophy of providing products that "live and breathe in the operating systems that our users choose."

Yahoo had made a similar move with a version of its messenger for the latest Mac OS X operating system, releasing a beta for this last year.

The company believed its users were best served by offering the right product for the right person and the right environment rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, Skyrm said.

Asked if the new Messenger experience would be the same across all the versions of Vista, Skyrm said it was still making decisions about what graphic features, particularly with Windows presentation Foundation, would be turned on and off, particularly for Vista Basic.

"It will be enough for the user to enjoy it seamlessly without their computer slowing down because its a lower-end computer," he said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifWhich Vista is the right Vista? Click here to read more.

The new Yahoo Messenger for Vista would also include all of the existing fun and easy-to-use features like text, instant messaging, interoperability with Windows Live Messenger users, emoticons, avatars, voice and all the other communication features.

Next Page: Microsoft welcomes Yahoo.