Yahoo has scooped up what’s likely dozens of companies over the past few years, all in an attempt to remain relevant in the modern era. Ironically enough, it’s a software relic from the past that could steer the ship back on course.
The software in question is Yahoo Messenger, the chat client it first launched nearly 18 years ago.
It may seem ludicrous to think that a dated IM service is even worth keeping around at this point. In fact, Yahoo’s strategy with Messenger over the past decade hasn't exactly been forward-looking but now, the app is getting a much-needed refresher.
As Wired points out, Messenger now includes technology and expertise from nearly a dozen companies Yahoo has acquired over the years. Most prominently, it uses Xobni to manage contacts, Flickr to handle photos and Tumblr for its massive (and searchable) GIF database. That said, the team behind the rebuild had to decide what people would want in a Yahoo messaging app.
Those answers include sharing photos and, unsurprisingly, chatting with people (in large groups). The photo sharing aspect perhaps best shows off the impressive tech behind the app. During a recent meeting with Yahoo executives, Wired’s David Pierce watched as one of the execs shared 25 images with everyone else in the meeting. It happened in literally one second.
Instead of sending a photo from one phone to the next, sharing in Messenger takes place in the cloud. Essentially you’re streaming a photo up to the cloud from your phone which is then beamed to the other recipients in the blink of an eye. The tech, dubbed Iris, is also used to manage chat logs, allowing you to scroll back through weeks, months and years of conversation without it consuming a ton of space on your device. It's this cloud-based technology that Yahoo believes will be instrumental in helping it build other moderm apps.
The new Yahoo Messenger is available on Android, iOS, inside Yahoo Mail on desktops and as a standalone app on the web. The mobile apps should be available starting today through Google and Apple app stores although you’ll have to wait a month or so for the web-based options.