Those of you who come to this blog know that I am not one to throw around superlatives. In fact, I am more of a critical curmudgeon than one who says "cool" a lot.
But within hours of Yahoo! Messenger With Voice's 7.5 beta release here in the U.S., I downloaded it, tried it, and even made a few calls out to standard phone numbers. And on balance, I love this program.
Here's what I like about Yahoo! Messenger With Voice:
Better PC to PSTN call quality than Skype.
Cheaper call-out plans; 2 cents a minute to U.S. numbers, compared to around 2.3 cents a minute for Skype.
Far more intuitive calling interface than Skype, and other softphones I've tried. I like the fact that you can type in a number, click a number from your lists of contacts, or as I show below, even dial a number straight from your Dialpad (which Yahoo! bought last year).
Like I'll show you here:
I love the integration with Yahoo! Music Launchcast. See, if I am going to have my headphones on, waiting for incoming Yahoo! Messenger with Voice calls, I would like to listen to music in the interim. In fact, as I type this blog entry I am listening to the "Behind The Sun" by the Starseeds on the "Chill Out" station as I am typing this blog entry.
Here's what I'd improve on:
The first-time authentication and set-up process is a bit clunky. In many other softphone programs, you buy a given amount of PC-to-phone time, and your service is immediately enabled. Yet with Yahoo! Music Launchcast, you have to wait up to a half hour for your account to be enabled on the server.
All the stuff that loads along with the program is a bit much. I don't really want Yahoo! Mail or even a news tab to load as well. You can go into Preferences to fix this so that these windows are minimized to the bottom taskbar, but I would like the option to do away with them entirely while I am talking and listening to music.
I haven't looked for it yet, but I think there ought to be an option to call and enable the person you are calling to listen to music at the same time.
The voice messages and call history ought to display in the Yahoo! Messenger window. When I tried to retrieve this info, a separate browser window opened. If you already have several browser instances running, this can start to drain your system memory.
But that's just nit-picking. I think I have found a new favorite softphone.
So,readers, have you tried Yahoo! Messenger with Voice? If so, what do you think? Let us know via TalkBack!