Early this year in January, Yahoo announced that they had designed a new messenger from the ground up just for use with Windows Vista. They wanted to take advantage of all the new features specific to Vista like the display and user interface, as well as Vista’s Windows Presentation Foundation. The previews looked awesome and the list of features was sure impressive, but it’s been almost a year now and we hadn’t heard anything about it’s progress or whether or not they were even working on it… until today! That’s right, it’s not vaporware like some of you thought. It’s finally here and for those of you just itching to try it, a preview release is available for download.

yahoo messenger for vista

So what makes this version of Yahoo Messenger specific to Windows Vista? There are two main things:

  • New interface that takes advantage of WPF
  • Makes use of Windows Vista Sidebar

There’s a whole list of features that are pretty impressive:

  • Huge selection of new and improved animated emoticons
  • Color code chat windows (pick a different color for each contact you’re talking to so it’s easier to keep track of)
  • Combine chat windows into one and then they will be tabbed with all conversations in one window
  • Drag contacts from the contact list onto the sidebar gadget so that keeping track of their status is easier, and then starting a conversation takes one click
  • Drag and drop files up to 2GB in size into the message Window
  • Spell check as you type (knows LOL isn’t something that needs to be corrected)
  • Works with Windows Live Messenger contacts
  • Resize contact list (multiple columns if you’d like) and resize the size of your buddies avatars

The Yahoo Messenger for Vista team put together a video that shows all of the new features in action.  There’s a high quality version available which you can view, or you can just view the video below in a lower quality.

Overall I’m really impressed by what Yahoo was able to accomplish, and I must say that I’m amazed that Microsoft hasn’t gone the extra mile to create a version of Live Messenger just for Vista users like what Yahoo has done.  You’d think that since Vista is Microsoft’s product, that they would release applications that catered to the features that Vista offers.

The Yahoo Messenger Blog notes that not all features that you might be used to like voice and text messaging to mobile phones are available with this release.  The good news though is that if you’re already running Yahoo Messenger 8.1 or 9.0, you can install Messenger for Vista as well and use both. The Vista version is installed in a different directory so you’ll have no problems opening both versions.

Congratulations to Yahoo on the preview launch of an awesome product. Realize that this product is still in beta so you may come across a few hiccups here and there. All around though, I think you’ll be as impressed as I was.

Sources: the How-To Geek Blog, Yahoo! Messenger Blog