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Yahoo! Messenger is a program for sending instant messages online through the Yahoo! system. The requirement for usage of Yahoo! Messenger is a Yahoo! email account and the requisite software.

Yahoo! Messenger is available for the following platforms:
Though the protocol used by Yahoo! Messenger is closed, Yahoo! has been among the vocal competitors to AOL/Time-Warner's AOL Instant Messenger, because of the fact that the AIM protocol is closed and blocks non-AIM clients from connecting. The downside to this is that a user with Yahoo! Messenger cannot contact a user with AOL Instant Messenger. Yahoo! has sought remedies to allow the clients to interact, though has in the past blocked other clients from using its service.

In addition to being an IM client, Yahoo! Messenger provides up-to-the-second updates on new email arriving in the user's inbox (for Yahoo! mail only, though), includes a search engine frontend, and allows stock updates.

The client is small and unobtrusive, especially when compared to AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, and most of all, ICQ. It has a complete array of options without being egregious.

Yahoo! Messenger is available at http://messenger.yahoo.com/. An alternative client, for connecting to not only Yahoo!, but IRC, ICQ, AIM, and MSN, is available at http://www.trillian.cc/.

Having tried out Yahoo! Messenger, I have to say that it, when compared to some of the more pleasant systems such as MSN and AIM, is rather ghastly to use.

By default, it has a highly annoying "IMVironment" system, not unlike the skinning systems commonly featured in some of the other Instant Messaging systems. But Yahoo! takes it one step further - any "IMVironment" you load into a conversation window will also get loaded by the person you're talking to.

One of these IMVironments makes most of the conversation window get taken up by a large sketch pad, of which you can draw in, and anything you draw will be synchronised with your contact.

Also, in the newer editions of Yahoo! Messenger. there is an absolutely satanic option in one of the menus at the top of each conversation window entitled "Buzz Friend". This option will effectively play a doorbell sound on the machine of whoever you are talking to, 'shake' the message window around (not unlike an earthquake), and display, in capital bold red letters, the word "BUZZ!!!" in the message window.

Why Yahoo! chose to include this highly annoying and stupid feature I have no idea. (Note: It seems there's a time delay between how often you can 'BUZZ!' people, 'BUZZ!'ing people can also cause things to happen in the loaded IMVironment.)

It also seems that the chatroom function fails silently if the account you have signed in with has a registered birthdate of 13 or lower. Also, a horrendously large banner ad takes up a considerable amount of space when using the chatrooms, which is forcibly tacked on to the bottom of the chatroom window.

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