|Most anyone whose kids have become teenagers over the last few years has almost certainly at least heard of "IM." It's become a verb among not only teens, but many adult surfers too. As in "IM me later!". For anyone who doesn't know, IM, or Instant Messaging, is software that lets people communicate over the Internet, well, instantly. Or nearly so - with only slight delays most of the time, instant messaging has always allowed users to type messages back and forth over the Internet. It's a lot like passing a note in class, with new parts of a conversation added on to the end of previous parts. Yahoo Messenger was one of the first to offer both IM software and a lane on the information superhighway for IM messages to travel.
But as the kids have grown, so has Yahoo Messenger. It's a lot more than a mere teen toy now. Yahoo, in an effort to attract and retain loyalty to it's brand, offers email, a personalized My Yahoo Portal, an address book, calendar, maps, bookmarks, a toolbar, and other services, many of them integrated to work together. But they seem to have paid special attention to Yahoo Messenger, especially recently. As more surfers have moved to high-speed internet connections, Yahoo has upgraded Yahoo Messenger to include Launchcast Radio, Yahoo Games, and of course, a considerable selection of customization options.
Perhaps the biggest change, and one many adult surfers will most appreciate, is the addition of Webcam, photo, and voice chat capabilities. Voice chat, in particular, will probably appeal to a broad audience. With it, a pair of speakers, and a microphone, you can talk live with contacts, over the Internet, even internationally, for free, using voice over IP technology. Most of the time, depending on network traffic between you and the other party, the conversation is loud & clear, and there is very little delay.
You may have wondered why your teens would prefer to type messages when they can just as easily call their friends. Now, with Yahoo Messenger, they, and you, can do both, using the same software!