Yahoo! adds voice calling to Messenger for Mac Beta

Sarah Bacon, Yahoo! Product Manager, blogs:

We know you’ve waited a long time for this… The new version of Yahoo! Messenger for Mac Beta now has voice calling!

With this new version, you can make free PC-to-PC calls or sign up for a Phone Out account to make calls from your Mac to regular or mobile phones worldwide for as low as 1¢ a minute (see rates). And if you want friends to be able to call you on your Mac from any phone, sign up for a Phone In account and choose a number.

Now that our Mac version has voice, users can also enjoy two other handy features: free voicemail and call forwarding. If you’re away from your Mac or signed out of Yahoo! Messenger, friends can leave you a voicemail which is then delivered as an email attachment to an address of your choice.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss any calls, use the call forwarding feature to immediately send incoming calls to any regular or mobile phone number. Note that you do need a Phone Out account to use call forwarding.

There is also a new Voice & Calls section in the preferences menu. From there you can set what email address should receive your voicemails, what number your calls should get forwarded to, and handy things like whether or not you want iTunes to pause when a call comes in.

You’ll find the voice features in a new “Voice & SMS” button in your IM window. From there you can start a call, or send a free SMS (text) message to a friend’s mobile phone (note that your friend may be charged for receiving your SMS message depending on their mobile phone data plan).

The main contact list window also has a button near the bottom that opens up a dial pad. This is handy if you have a number you need to call that’s not associated with a contact.
Check out this short screencast to see how the new voice features work:

Direct link via Yahoo! Video:

If you’re curious about the voice features but aren’t ready to sign up for a Phone Out account (or don’t have a friend you can call for free on PC-to-PC), try the “Make a free test call” button in the Voice preferences menu. During the free call you can record and playback your voice to check out the quality.

We really want your feedback on this new version, so after you’ve had some time to try it, please visit our feedback page to let us know what you like and don’t like.
On your mark, get set…start talking!

Source: Yahoo! Messenger Blog

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “AJK” for the heads up.]


  1. I was beginning to think that Yahoo! had given up on adding Voice to their Mac version after a lack of progress with the beta so this is welcome news.

    Competition is a good thing so a mainstream alternative to Skype is important and it does actually have a few advantages over Skype such as the free voicemail to email. It’s good to see such commitment to the Mac from Yahoo! and it shows up Microsoft’s lack of commitment.

  2. Connor MacBook,

    Not certain yet, but for whatever reason (technical? lack of skills? lack of interest?), video via Yahoo Messenger has PAINFULLY slow frame rates.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that the app is showing progress, and I do use it daily, but for video chat/conferencing of ANY kind, Yahoo IM lags far behind AIM.

    Mind you, I’m NOT talking AIM Mac. AIM Mac SUCKS, but at least I can video with AIM ‘dozers (not that I would… it’d require daily doses of eyeball antibiotics) at something greater than 4 frames per second.

    Keep up the the good work, Yahoo, Apple needs a kick in the pants to move iChat along.

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  3. VOICE , now there is the WOW. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    I do a regular video chat with family when I am on the road. Its so simple, open MacBook, click iChat, click on their name, invite to video chat.

    Yep. its easy.

    PS, does anyone here know how to set up a mac to pc chat effort?? I still have family on pcs.


  4. Any bets on how long the Mac version will be around once Microsoft purchases Yahoo! ?

    Just think when Microsoft does purchase Yahoo! (true not 100% certainty) this will become a Microsoft product. Those for those who like being 100% Microsoft free, Skype is the better option.

    Just a thought…


  5. Eldernorm,

    Yes, I recently had to setup a PC to Mac video chat connection as well. There are a ton of strange options out there, but the basic idea is… get a Logitech webcam for the PC (unless it’s got one built in) ’cause the MS ones are shit, and use AIM for Windows to connect to iChat for Mac. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

  6. ElderNorm , Skype is probably the best option. They’ve made a number of improvements(copied iChat in many ways) to create the best cross-platform video chat app. I still prefer iChat for its simplicity and integration with other OSX apps. However when dealing with PC’er’s who want to do a video chat, Skype is the way to go.

  7. And, what did you accomplish yesterday afternoon, David? Why, I set up the new MacBook (suWEET) a playwright friend of my playwright wife just bought. The final item on the list was Video Chat – iChat at its best. Now, I’ve never used it that way before … never had a second camera-equipped Mac to test it with … so it was a real kick for each of us. It did take a couple of minutes to get connected the first time … and a LOT of minutes to convince her to stop playing with the “Effects” feature … but it was smooth and bug-free from there on. And this lady is, umm, even less adept with computers than my wife is. (it took several explanations to convince her that a) auto-login is not a good idea on a laptop and b) she doesn’t want to do ‘stuff’ from an Admin account)
    This news is way too little and way too late.

  8. I use both Gizmo Project and Skype for my calls to/from India. I prefer Gizmo Project because I use an ATA (Analog Telephone Adaptor) without using a computer. Even my mom can dial me now as she does not need the computer. We use Skype because of the excellent Video Chat. However, Yahoo voice is a welcome addition. I would welcome any Mac/PC compatible soft clients.

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