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article imageYahoo's all-new Messenger app lets you like and unsend messages

By James Walker     Dec 3, 2015 in Technology
Yahoo has launched a complete remake of its almost-forgotten messaging service, Messenger. The new-look app debuts online and on mobile devices today and includes some unique features that aren't available in rival apps.
Yahoo Messenger is built on an all-new "modern platform" and places an emphasis on simple and fast direct messaging with friends. It supports simple text exchanges as well as photo sharing and uses a clean and minimalist design that blends in well with established messaging apps today.
Yahoo has also introduced some features that its rivals, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, don't have. Users can easily "like" media content with a single tap while integrated Flickr search lets you instantly send photos to friends. Images are displayed in a dedicated horizontal drawer at the bottom of the conversation so as to avoid interrupting an exchange of messages.
For people who prefer a bit more motion than a static photo can provide, a built-in connection to Tumblr powers a search box for animated GIFs. Ordinarily, you'd have to switch to a web browser, find and download the GIF and then upload it using your messaging app of choice, a process that Yahoo Messenger entirely eradicates.
The app also boasts one more unique feature: the ability to "unsend" a message. Tapping on a text or photo displays a button to permanently delete it. The content will be removed from the conversation entirely and will no longer be visible to anyone present.
Jeff Bonforte, senior vice president of communication products and engineering at Yahoo, said the new Yahoo Messenger is designed "first and foremost" to be a fast and easy way to communicate. He wrote in a press release: "We're excited to introduce the next generation of Yahoo Messenger. It has long been one of our core products but it was time to redesign the product from the ground up and reinvest in one of the most important products in our history as a company."
He added that online messaging has "grown dramatically" since the early days of Yahoo Messenger and hinted at an upcoming portfolio of Yahoo products in the category, describing Messenger as "just the beginning of what's to come."
Yahoo Messenger dates from 1998 when its key rivals were services like AOL Instant Messenger and Microsoft's MSN. Like many of Yahoo's once-popular products, Messenger has failed to keep up in the modern age though, rapidly losing market share to smartphone-centric apps ruled by companies like Facebook and Snapchat.
Messenger's relaunch can be easily interpreted as a desperate plea for more users but it also represents the start of something new. It is a statement from Yahoo that it can remain relevant in the modern age and is now aware of what it must do to achieve that. The company admitted to CNET it is about getting "back in touch" with how people use digital services today.
The all-new Yahoo Messenger is available now online, in Yahoo Mail and as a standalone app on iOS and Android devices. Yahoo is already gearing up to release more brand-new apps in the near future, reasserting its presence in the digital space after years of generally staying away from the spotlight.
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