In just a few minutes, the Yahoo Messenger installer walked us through the free account registration process and also set up a toolbar button within Internet Explorer for easy access. The sleek, attractive Yahoo Messenger 6.0 interface itself is somewhat larger than those of other clients we looked at but much cleaner and better organized than AIM's. The interface is customizable with a variety of color schemes, making it much more like ICQ.
Like AIM, whenever you log in to Yahoo Messenger, whether at home or from a cafe, it will display your contact list, so you always stay in touch with friends and colleagues. Unfortunately, Yahoo Messenger accounts won't work within other IM clients, but you can use software such as Trillian to mix messengers. You can format Yahoo Messenger text messages with a wide range of font styles and emoticons, as well as audible cues to personalize your specific message; a selection of themed backgrounds, called IMVironments, lets you further customize your messages.
When you receive a message, Yahoo Messenger displays a system tray notification with the name of the sender, so a quick look will help you decide whether to respond immediately (by clicking the tray notification) or wait till later. Free conference chat lets you converse with multiple users within the same message window. Yahoo Messenger also lets you select a photo or an avatar to represent you in messages. Plus, if text isn't your thing, Yahoo Messenger supports voice chat (through the PC's microphone and speaker) and one-on-one Web video (if your PC has a Webcam). Yahoo also offers chat rooms for public and private conversations.
We were disappointed to find Yahoo Messenger's support weak, despite Yahoo's market preeminence. A help Web page does provide explanation and guidance for Yahoo Messenger's main features, but depending on your issue, you may have to dig a few levels down to find what you're really looking for. Luckily, the support site is searchable; however, we couldn't find any links to live or e-mail support within Yahoo Messenger itself.Download Yahoo Messenger 6.0