Yahoo has just announced the first beta of the upcoming Yahoo Messenger 11. The future version of the popular instant messaging client comes with a couple of big new features, social games and the possibility to keep up and chat with Twitter and Facebook friends, but also a few additions and updates for the die-hard fans.
"It’s here! The new Yahoo! Messenger Beta is now available for download. Yahoo! Messenger Beta makes it fun and easy to share, connect, and play with friends and family – no matter where you are in the world," Yahoo announced.
Yahoo Messenger comes with social games from Zynga and others
One big announcement for this beta release is the integration of social games from a number of companies in Yahoo Messenger. This is part of a company-wide move and Yahoo just announced that these games will now be available through a number of its properties.
For now, you can play Fishville and Mafia Wars from Zynga (not yet available), Balloono, Pool, Draw My Thing from OMGPOP and Happy Harvest as well as Happy Manor from Elex.
You will be able to play these games in a dedicated window while Yahoo Messenger is running. And, since these are social games after all, you can share activities with your friends and interact with them just like you would on Facebook.
Update your status on Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter
The second big new feature is part of yet another company-wide move. Yahoo has been working on integrating more social features into its products as well as integrating Facebook and Twitter. With Yahoo Messenger 10, users were already able to keep up with their friends on a number of sites and social networks via the Yahoo Updates service.
Yahoo Messenger 11 takes it one step further with the ability to share a status message with your Messenger friends, everyone else via Yahoo Updates and also on Facebook or Twitter, all at the same time.
Chat with Facebook friends
What's more, Yahoo Messenger 11 also enables you to chat with your friends on Facebook Chat via the dedicated instant messaging client. This feature should come in handy for those wanting to connect to friends on both networks. Facebook, of course, does not have an official desktop client for Chat.
Yahoo Messenger for Android with voice chat and photo sharing
Finally, the third big theme for Yahoo Messenger 11 is universal availability. The idea is to make it possible to continue a conversation regardless on what device you're on at the moment, your laptop, your tablet or your smartphone.
For this, Yahoo has finally introduced an official Messenger client for Android phones. The Android app is feature packed and you can make video calls (on supported devices, MyTouch 4G and EVO for now) as well as share photos and videos.
Stay signed in on multiple PCs
With Yahoo Messenger 11 an age-old rule has been broken, you can now stay signed into multiple devices at the same time. Any message you receive will be forwarded to any of your desktops or laptops at the same time so you won't miss it regardless of where you are at any time.
Conversation history available from any PC
In order to make this even more seamless, any stored conversations will be available on any device at any time. Until now, only conversations saved with the web client at webmessenger.yahoo.com were available on any device across different sessions.
Now, this has been extended and you have access to recent conversations on any PC where you use Yahoo Messenger 11. This means that the conversations are saved in the cloud, convenient but maybe a bit creepy for the privacy conscious.
Still no support for Windows Aero
On the downside, Yahoo Messenger 11 Beta comes with the same non-native, colorful themes that have been the norm for a few versions now. If you're looking for something that will integrate well with your Windows 7 install, this isn't it, Yahoo Messenger still stands out like loud, purple unicorn at a funeral.
Features like tabbed conversation windows and others that power-users have been wanting for years are still nowhere to be seen. If Facebook integration and mobile use are important to you, Yahoo Messenger 11 is going to be great, if not and you wanted something more, well, at least, you're used to not getting it by now.
You can start testing the Yahoo Messenger 11 Beta by grabbing it from the link below. While this is labeled as a beta and some bugs should be expected, it should be stable enough for regular use based on previous beta releases of Yahoo Messenger.
Yahoo Messenger 11 Beta for Windows is available for download here.