Yahoo messenger has a special place in the heart of a 90’s kid as they know and understand the extent at which technology has grown over the years. If you can faintly remember (Speaking to my fellow 90s kids and teens) the time then; the world seemed so full of possibilities and so did the technology that was introduced. Back then, the innovation of a new powerful app or software was slow and each one was welcomed with open arms by the generation then which loved seeing new widely functional applications. Year by year things kept escalating and in 1998 we were introduced to Yahoo messenger.
After nearly two decades of running like a champion (the last few years being not so pretty), the messenger is finally scheduled to be taken down on the 17th of July 2018 by stopping all its updates and services along with support. Oath, a subsidiary of Verizon which bought the Yahoo Corporation back in June last year for a disappointing (for Yahoo) $4.48 Billion, has announced its finality. Along with the announcement of its demise, there were several other announcements that were made public which may hint towards something hopeful to come from this death sentence. But first let’s see all that the old Yahoo messenger meant for us back then.
A history in the making
Although it was introduced as a pager back then, even the creators of Yahoo messenger itself wouldn’t have anticipated the success that was awaiting it. Scoring millions of downloads and countless hours from the then young generation that was new to the world of internet, Yahoo messenger quickly rose to fame due to the many features that it offered that no other competitor was offering back then.
These included the most innovative features offered then; few of which were File Sharing over chats, the ability to like or dislike media as per the receiver’s choice, the feature of Unsend which allowed the sender to delete the previously sent messages and audios amongst many other.
The availability of Yahoo group messaging feature allowed many friends to talk simultaneously in a single chat window was innovative for all of us and was way ahead of its time.
The chat was also powered with features which were later taken down. These included the infamous voice and video chatting ability, adding games to the mix along with the added plug-ins offered by the Yahoo app store.
The features that Yahoo messenger offered were way beyond what a lot of people thought were possible. In a way, it paved the way for future applications to develop all of these features.
And yet we haven’t even gone ahead and spoken about the plethora of animated emojis which were coupled with hilarious audios. There was just so much that Yahoo Messenger offered.
What went wrong?
Innovation was the strong suite of Yahoo Messenger and when the innovations started slowing down, the competitors took over. While it was a powerful app, the size and the amount of memory it used was huge for devices back then. Quickly, the faster apps started taking over and the birth of the smart-phone era apps gave no quarter to the already lagging Yahoo messenger. Although the phone optimized version of the app was released, it wasn’t ‘The first’ anymore and soon paved the way to its demise.
Notably, the biggest rival of the entire messaging industry, Whatsapp, was made by ex-employees of Yahoo before it was bought by Facebook. Now that Facebook dominates the market using its Messenger and now bought Whatapp application, Yahoo saw no respite.
It ranks a disappointing 160 in the iOS platform 117 in the Android platform today as per App Annie.
How will it happen?
Now that the execution is certain, let’s talk about how it will be carried forward. The most important thing that users are worrying about is their chat data which is precious to a lot, can be accessed simply with the link provided here by Yahoo. This will allow you to search for and download all the data you wish to secure, but it is to be noted that these details will be saved on PC as files and won’t be able to be transferred to other applications.
The services will only be affected for your Yahoo messenger account. Other services like the Yahoo Mail and Fantasy Sports will be unaffected as of now.
What next for Yahoo?
The end of support might look gloomy but Yahoo (or Oath) is planning a lot other exciting things and has powerful projects in the pipeline right now. Speaking about their latest project: “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,” Yahoo notes. “As the communications landscape continues to change over, we’re focusing on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs.”
The most exciting announcement post then is the group messaging app which Yahoo would be introducing soon known as Squirrel. The app as of now is available on invite only basis and you can look for an invite of the beta version here. The testing has already begun and Yahoo is hopeful of its launch.
Since other messaging projects haven’t been living up to the mark, Oath under Verizon is looking to turn-around this product train to a more video-focussed approach.
What do we think?
We are sad and heartbroken. Yet we believe there is a strong lesson to be learnt here seeing the overall demise of Yahoo as a Corporation which saw a quick and swift death last year after being acquired by Verizon.
Innovation is a platform that will keep you afloat this fast submerging market of apps and services which become obsolete as soon as they are launched. It is important to keep your eyes focussed towards the future and never avert your eyes from it.
Hopefully, the new owners of Yahoo will not make the similar mistake and in an ever-evolving market, will find all glory that the Yahoo Messenger lost over the years.
Goodbye Yahoo Messenger!