Yahoo Messenger, one of the Instant Messenger (IM) programs which took this form of communication to the mainstream, is discontinuing service after 20 years on the market. From its beginnings in the late 90s as a popular IM program called Yahoo! Pager (a name fitting the technology of the times), to its recent pivots to mobile messaging, Yahoo Messenger has gone through many transformations in its two decades on the market. In the end, however, its parent company Oath has made the decision that as of July 17th, the messenger program will be no more.
The announcement that Yahoo Messenger will shut down comes only 6 months after Oath shut down another pioneering program in its repertoire, AOL Instant Messenger. Both of these shakeups in the IM market have led to periods of reflection as market watchers; users and those in the IM business try to learn lessons from these programs’ experiences.
While it’s not uncommon for programs to cease operations, particularly in the fast-changing IM field, the recent announcement raises a series of questions about the future of the IM field. Perhaps the most pressing question to emerge from Yahoo Messenger’s closure, however, is the one related to where its thousands of dedicated users turn to for their ongoing communication needs?
What’s next? What’s the Yahoo Messenger Alternatives?
The announcement that Yahoo Messenger is shutting down came along with some further information for users, including instructions on how they can download chat history, and whether these changes will affect their connection to other Yahoo services (they won’t). Alongside this information was the announcement that there is currently no replacement product for Yahoo Messenger on offer from Yahoo itself, although they are currently experimenting with a future replacement that’s in the beta phase. This all means that users will need to make a relatively quick decision as to what IM program to turn to.
There is a plethora of IM programs on the market, each with particular strengths. Some are focused on totally secure messaging, some integrate a range of other services into one package, some work to increase team collaboration, and some try to strike a balance between a range of features. This variety is good in terms of the breadth of choice available to users. But it can be overwhelming if users don’t take a strategic approach to select a replacement program.
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Each Yahoo Messenger user certainly has his or her own unique needs that the program has addressed. In order to make the most informed decision as to where to take their business, it’s important for each user to first reflect on what these needs are exactly, and then research which of the multiple potential replacement programs is best positioned to address them. In order to help facilitate this process, 12 of the top choices are listed below together with a short summary of their unique strength.
1. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is the latest Google communication platform that combines three previous Google products (Google Talk, Google + Messenger and Hangouts) in order to provide messaging, video chat, SMS and VOIP services. As with all Google products, Google Hangouts is integrated into the range of service within the G Suite. This makes it a good option for users who already rely on Google products for other services such as Gmail and Google Calendar.
Skype is another longtime standby in the IM market, with a particular focus on the telecommunications aspect of instant messaging. It specializes in video and voice calls between users on a range of devices. This makes it a strong choice for Yahoo Messenger users looking for a voice and video chat option.
Telegram is one of the voice-based IP and cloud-based messaging services that lets users exchange audio, stickers, videos, images and any other files in supported format. Your telegram account can be linked to your telephone number once it is verified by phone call or SMS. You are allowed to include different devices to your account and get messages or text on each one. Users can also send messages through secret chats that facilitate user-to-user encryption.
Brosix is an Enterprise IM program which specializes in providing businesses and other organizations private and secure internal messaging networks. It offers a range of collaborative features aimed at increasing the efficiency of team communication, making it a great choice for those users who have been using Yahoo Messenger in a business environment.
WhatsApp is VOIP and freeware service that lets you send text messages and do voice calling with a simple and secure method. Though the application mainly runs from the Smartphone device, you can also access it through desktop computers. WhatsApp has been developing new tools that will help businesses to take advantage of Enterprise solutions. Needless to say, it will also help companies to offer superior service to their customers on large scale.
6. Facebook Messenger
Being one of the highly used platforms, Facebook Messanger lets the user send text messages as well as exchange images, videos, stickers and much more. Users can also react to a message sent by other users and get in touch with bots. The standalone application lets you take control of multiple accounts, do conversations and play games. Recently, the messenger has added some modern features such as Augmented Reality (AR) effects. This lets users add 3D effects into their videos and photos.
Kik is an instant messaging application which is available free of charge on Android and iOS platform. It is highly notable for its unique feature that preserves the identity of the user. What it means that you can register with the app without linking your telephone number. The app also features promoted chats that use bots to interact with users via keywords.
Line is another freeware messaging app that can be used on tablet computers, Smartphones, and desktop computers. In the year 2014, Line became a biggest social network in Japan courtesy of its amazing features such as address book synchronization. The app also possesses its own sticker shop from where users can buy virtual stickers. If you are a Line user then you will also get an access to the LINE GAME that includes simulation, puzzles, battles and much more.
There are several amazing features you will find in ICQ that separates it from other messaging tools. ICQ offers offline messaging, searchable user directory, multi-user chats, games, greeting cards and file transfer that can be resumed at any point of time. Apart from few common features, the messenger offers users several other unique services such as ICQ2Go, ICQ SIM Card, ICQ for Mac, ICQ Game Center and ICQ TV. The privacy of users is rightly protected as they are allowed to choose their own avatar while setting up a profile page.
10. Google Allo
If it is from Google then it ought to be perfect and get huge appreciation from users. This is exactly what Google Allo does with its multitasking features ranging from Smart reply to Whisper Shout. The app is based on user’s phone number rather than email or social account. Google Allo also offers an incognito mode that makes sure private notifications and chats are not saved. The Smart Smiley feature of app recommends stickers and emojis on the basis of the tone of the message.
WeChat is an all in one application that lets the user to do messaging, access social media and conduct mobile payment. The app offers broadcast messaging, voice messaging, video conferencing, image sharing, video games, location sharing and much more. You can also send earlier saved videos, pictures, coupons and share your GPS location with your contacts. The messenger offers three different types of accounts – Enterprise account, subscription account and service account. Users can also use WeChat application to pay bills, shop items and transfer funds to other users by adding their bank account details.
GroupMe is a messaging app which is launched in the year 2010 and owned by Microsoft. You can use this app by either registering with your phone number or link it to your social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook. The app offers you outstanding ability to share your videos, photos and personalized emojis with your friends. Even if you don’t want to use the general features of this app, you can still receive or send GroupMe messages using SMS.
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For the last 20 years, Yahoo Messenger has been the choice of millions of users for their IM needs. With its closure, those users who have continued to rely on the program to this day will be forced to look for an alternative program. Luckily there is a range of different options on the market, each offering a different experience to users. By weighing what their needs are, and which program best addresses them, Yahoo Messenger users will be able to make a seamless transition to what may end up being a more exciting and useful product.
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