Yahoo Messenger is back but will anyone use it given the existence of WhatsApp and the myriad other options available to consumers?

Yahoo Messenger

The 1990s are back with a revamp of Yahoo Messenger

Yahoo has decided to retire the web-based Yahoo Messenger in the coming months in lieu of a standalone messaging app for iOS and Android that resembles a number of other messaging apps used all over the world. Just like WhatsApp, one the app is downloaded you will be prompted for your telephone number. Once the app has this it scans your Yahoo Mail account (if you have one) and your phone’s contacts to find others that are using the application. Nothing terribly groundbreaking there and no reason to think that any existing messaging app has much to worry about from Yahoo.

However, the new Yahoo Messenger does have a couple of bright spots and unique features of its own. Yahoo’s Messenger has a built-in GIF made possible by Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr. Users are also able to share a large amount of photos nearly instantaneously regardless of whether you’re using a data connection or Wi-Fi by employing another of its properties, Flickr. Yahoo Messenger also allows you to unsend any message you’ve sent, but will of course not be able to erase the memory of anyone who has already read it. Additionally, Yahoo Messenger allows users to like an individual message withing a thread.

The web app for the revamped Messenger will also appear within Yahoo Mail just as Google Hangouts functions within Gmail. Essentially, the apps for both web and smartphones are simply playing catchup with existing apps used by a hundreds of millions elsewhere.

What’s next for Yahoo Messenger?

Austin Shoemaker, senior director of product management for Yahoo Messenger, recently told Mashable that Yahoo Messenger will be incorporated into a number of other Yahoo services and that Yahoo will provide numerous updates and new features while remaining intentionally vague when it came to specifics.

“We built this not just as a single app but as a platform that allows messaging to be integrated with other products in Yahoo. There are a lot of other Yahoo properties that could benefit from adding a lightweight communication layer,”said Shoemaker.

With so many competing messaging apps, it’s hard to see Yahoo’s Messenger gaining much traction but stranger things have happened.