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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ode to Yahoo Messenger .. and Yahoo Squirrel is born !


Sure you know and are fond of squirrels ! ~ heard of ‘Yahoo squirrel’ ? (pic credit : sciencing.com)

There are things in life which one feels are the most important but with passage of time, becomes redundant !   ~ in Big Street was the edifice of Sri Parthasarathi Post Office, an attractive building having a couple of fruit bearing trees – ever busy – a time when filling up money-order form was an art.  People used to send post cards, inland letters, covers and the like – postal stamps and revenue stamps were regularly bought and part of every household. When was the last time, you ever sent a letter writing by hand ? – in our generation, we saw ‘telegrams’ as the fastest means of communicating ‘news of passing away of persons’; then appointment letters, persons arriving in a city etc., - quite unfortunately, we also witnessed the demise of ‘telegram’ itself – the near stopping of personal use of card/covers and fading away of importance of Post Office too .. . . .. ..

Have read some ‘Odes’ .. .. .. an ode (from Ancient Greek: ōd) is a type of lyrical stanza. It is an elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event or individual, describing nature intellectually as well as emotionally.  Greek odes were originally poetic pieces performed with musical accompaniment.

Travelling back to early 1990s, people used to open email accounts with pride – the most prized possessions were ‘hotmail’ and ‘yahoo’ accounts – I remember having an mantraonline / sify / rediff and some other accounts too.

                             Yahoo! is a web services provider headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and now  wholly owned by Verizon Communications.  The original Yahoo! company was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994 and was incorporated on March 2, 1995.  Yahoo was one of the pioneers of the early Internet era in the 1990s.

Before we started ‘googling’ for everything – we used  search engine Yahoo! Search, and related services, including Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Answers, advertising, online mapping, video sharing, fantasy sports, and its social media website. At its height it was one of the most popular sites in the United States.  According to third-party web analytics providers Alexa and SimilarWeb, Yahoo! was the most widely read news and media website – with over 7 billion views per month – ranking as the sixth-most-visited website globally in 2016.

‘old order changeth – yielding place to new’ – as with many popular things that have faded away – Yahoo too  slowly declined, starting in the late 2000s, and in 2017 Verizon Communications acquired most of Yahoo's Internet business for $4.48 billion, excluding its stakes in Alibaba Group and Yahoo! Japan which were transferred to Yahoo's successor company Altaba.

Most of us who have Facebook installed in our mobiles are addicted to its messenger too .. .. .. Yahoo! Messenger (sometimes abbreviated Y!M) is an advertisement-supported instant messaging client and associated protocol provided by Yahoo!. Yahoo Messenger is provided free of charge and can be downloaded and used with a generic "Yahoo ID" which also allows access to other Yahoo! services, such as Yahoo! Mail, where users can be automatically notified when they receive new email. Yahoo! also offers PC-to-PC, PC-to-Phone and Phone-to-PC service, file transfers, webcam hosting, text messaging service, and chat rooms in various categories.

Yahoo! Messenger was originally launched under the name Yahoo! Pager on March 9, 1998. In addition to instant messaging features similar to those offered by ICQ, it also offers (on Microsoft Windows) features such as: IMVironments (customizing the look of Instant Message windows, some of which include authorized themes of various cartoons such as Garfield or Dilbert), address-book integration and Custom Status Messages.  It was also the first major IM client to feature BUZZing and music-status. Another recently added feature is customized avatars. Yahoo Messenger also allows users to access Yahoo Chat Rooms.

As of March 27, 2016, the only supported clients are the Android, iOS and web browser clients. The original Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris clients are not supported anymore, and their servers began shutting down on August 5, 2016, with the clients no longer working by August 31, 2016.   On April 12, 2016, Yahoo announced that the messenger would support six non-English languages to bridge the language gap and create personalised experiences for its users. Yahoo Messenger that time  supported Hindi (on Android devices only), Chinese, French, German, Spanish and Indonesian.. .. now comes the news ath Yahoo Messenger will no longer be supported after July 17, 2018.

So July 17th would mark the end  for pioneer instant messaging app Yahoo Messenger. Verizon subsidiary Oath announced it is planning to shut down the messenger on July 17 – and is now redirecting users to its brand new group messaging app Squirrel. “We know we have many loyal fans who have used Yahoo Messenger since its beginning as one of the first chat apps of its kind,” the statement reads. “As the communications landscape continues to change over, we’re focusing on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs.”  In place, the company is encouraging users to sign up for Squirrel, which the company has been quietly beta-testing since May. Squirrel is currently invite-only, but hopefully the app will be open to the public by the time Yahoo Messenger gets shuttered.

Meanwhile, those interested in early access to Squirrel can sign up for an invite code by following the instructions on the app’s official website. The announcement further notes that users will have six months to download their chat history from Yahoo Messenger; you can find more about this here. While users can download the data to your device, it appears that porting the history to another app won’t be an option.

So that marks the official killing of Yahoo messenger

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
4th July 2018

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