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How Yahoo Messenger Works


New Innovations for Yahoo Messenger
Yahoo Messenger users can even chat using their mobile devices.
Yahoo Messenger users can even chat using their mobile devices.
© Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Innovations for Yahoo Messenger reach beyond your own computer to allow you access to IM services wherever you are. For example, Yahoo Messenger for the Web provides instant messaging from any browser when you're away from home. Yahoo Messenger also provides free PC to PC phone service and IM services for your mobile device.

Yahoo Messenger for the Web

Log into Yahoo Messenger for the Web to IM from any browser -- with access to your contacts and message archives. You can add contacts, change your online status and save and search messages. You also can show your avatar and use your block list and stealth settings. But you won't be able to change any of these until you're home. And you won't be able to transfer files or use features like chat, voice, IMvironments, plug-ins or audibles.

To use Yahoo Messenger for the Web, go to Yahoo Messenger for the Web and sign in with your Yahoo ID and password. Once you're signed in, you'll see the usual screen display with your message list at the left. You can send and receive messages as you would at home.

PC to PC Phone Calls

Using your computer to call someone else on theirs is simple, easy -- and free. Yahoo Messenger's call feature uses voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology for worldwide computer-to-computer calling. You and the person you're calling will need Yahoo Messenger with Voice, a Windows operating system and sound card, a microphone and speakers or a headset.

Before you make a call, you can make sure your microphone and speakers are set up right by clicking on "Actions" and then "Call Setup." To call someone on your messenger list with a phone number listed, click first on that person's name, then the phone icon and finally "Call (Person's) computer." You'll hear a ring, they'll answer and the call starts. When you're done, click "End Call."

To call someone while the two of you are IMing, just click the phone icon above the conversation window. To call someone who's not on your messenger list, type the computer phone number in the "Type a Yahoo ID" bar above the messenger list.

Yahoo Mobile Messenger

You can sign into Yahoo Messenger from your mobile device when you're away from your computer and receive your IMs as text messages. You also can access your messenger list and change your online status from your cell phone, smartphone or PDA.

Start by registering your mobile phone number. Click "Forward" above your messenger window. Then click "Add a phone number" next to "Forward offline IMs to" and register your number. After that, IMs will automatically be forwarded to your mobile device when you sign out of Yahoo Messenger on your computer. A phone icon in front of your name on your contacts' messenger lists will show you're mobile.

To send a text message from your mobile phone with Yahoo Messenger, click the Actions menu and then "Send an SMS Message." Enter your contact's mobile phone number, type your message and click "Send." You also can start by clicking the text message icon in the address book, or clicking on the contact name in the messenger list and then selecting "Send an SMS Message."

While we've tried to give an overview here of Yahoo Messenger, there's plenty more. For lots more information about Yahoo Messenger and instant messaging, go to the links on the next page.