While the increasing smartphone usage may lead some to believe that the occasion is ripe for as many messenger apps as are willing to take the field, the truth is far from it. In reality, the number of players dominating the sector can be counted upon your fingers — and with the recent string of acquisitions, chances are that you will need only one hand.
Nevertheless, Yahoo — which actually has a lesser known messenger app of its own that — whether one believes or not, was once called Yahoo Pager — has recently introduced a spate of changes that it hopes will enable it to grab the attention of the IM crazed masses.
The company — which was one of the early pioneers of the web — has in recent times been plagued with issues that led to a goodly portion of its users rejecting its services in favor of other service providers, who offered a more up to date and modern approach. Well, Yahoo seems to be looking to make corrections as far as its messenger app is concerned — hence the renovation drive. Lets take a look at the major changes — wrought, thanks to a string of acquisitions and integrations from Flickr, Tumblr, Xoboni and others — one by one.
First off, photo sharing has been made way easier, thanks to the use of the Flickr platform. With the new messenger, users have the option of selecting and uploading hundreds of pictures, at once. Also, in what according to company claims, is a first for a messenger app, downloading a thumbnail to your device via the Yahoo app leaves you with a picture with its original resolution. The thumbnails displayed meanwhile, have a resolution of about 1/20th of the original picture. The upload time has been cut down a fair bit as well.
Also, Yahoo has introduced the capability to ‘Unsend messages’. While almost every messenger app offers you the choice of deleting messages after you have sent them, in most, the offending message or image is removed only from your own device, leaving the ‘others’ you sent the message to, still in possession — which often makes the whole exercise quite pointless.
Realizing this, Yahoo’s improved ‘Unsend’ feature removes the selected message from not just your device, but from every other device it was originally sent to as well. Handy!
Both the ‘Unsend’ feature and the quicker image upload time — and images are uploading in a flash now — are by virtue of a new cloud based approach Yahoo has hooked up with its messenger app. Without wading into the technicalities, we can say that everything now takes place in the clouds. So instead of a device to device transfer what you have is a cloud to device streaming, thus considerably speeding up the process. There is also the added benefit of saving your phone storage.
If during the course of your conversation with someone, you come across something that you find to be particularly remarkable or intelligent, be it a message or an image or a gif, you can show your appreciation for it by liking it — similar to how things are done on Twitter, Facebook etc.
Finally, and this is probably one of the more important additions, the enhanced messanger app lets you directly dip into Tumblr and snatch your favorite GIF from there to liven up your conversations. The GIF repository is updated in almost real-time, letting you access animations related to all the trending topics. This approach is way more convenient as compared to what others such as Whatsapp offer, where you first have to download the GIF to your device before making use of it in your conversations.
Well Yahoo, with its user base running into some tens of millions, is definitely the underdog in a field where others have consumers running into hundreds of millions. Facebook alone has a combined user base of a staggering 1300 million — FB messenger and Whatsapp combined, with others such as Skype, Viber etc fielding similarly impressive numbers. However, the masses are fickle and it doesn’t take much to bring about a mass migration from one app to another.
That being said, while the recent change made by Yahoo are certainly a start, it will have to continue steadily along the path of improvement for quite a while yet, before it can remotely hope to acquire a position of significance in the niche of Instant messaging.
And while we talk of all that, the larger question is — Do you, as a user, even care of Yahoo’s ‘updated’ messenger app anymore ? There are like 15 other odd services, similar in nature and already popular. Let us know in the comments below.