Revisiting Yahoo! Messenger

It had a 20-year lifespan, and we were all there to witness a preview of what we take for granted today.

Do you remember using Yahoo! Messenger? That was the app to connect with my friends when I was in school as the internet was basically based on a Digital Describer Line and prepaid cards.

The plethora of apps abundance that we enjoy today, I believe, was based on how great YM was back in the day. You could chat with your friends whom you would know if he or she was online by just checking your friends’ list or buzzing them so they could notice you.

It was extremely advanced for its time but too bad, smartphones back then were not as sophisticated as it is now. Internet cafes were all the rage as phones were relatively expensive and PCs or laptops were too bulky.

Data too was not as readily available and there were limited data plans for the masses, unlike today. But YM was fun and easy to use, similar to the current roster of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, Signal, and Facebook Messenger.

It had chat rooms, video calls, stickers, and even emojis where you could alternatively express yourself or even flirt with your crushes. It was an innovative service by Yahoo! that allowed us to avoid text messaging charges and we could initiate a conversation with unlimited capacity provided of course that the internet had enough speed and if the prepaid load was enough.

I can just imagine YM competing among the messaging apps today if the right technology was present at that time. It was July 2018 when YM finally shut down and said its farewell to a generation of its users who relied on it to interact with family and friends. It had a 20-year lifespan, and we were all there to witness a preview of what we take for granted today.

Yahoo! tried to replace YM with Squirrel which didn’t take off and had to close just a year later. Discussing YM also brings back memories of connecting with new people by using chat clients like ICQ, MIRC, MSN Messenger, and other non-encrypted public chatrooms.

Back in the day, advertisers wouldn’t be able to “target” you, offering products and services. Online data collection through messaging apps was not as exploitative and the most important feature of all was that you could enjoy your time with friends without censoring yourself for fear of being reported, LOL.

The OG of all IMs was YM! This is as “Tito” as I could get in 2022, LMAO!


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