Yahoo today introduced in the United States a new public beta of its instant messaging suite, Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, with enhanced PC-based calling capabilities. With Phone Out, consumers in the U.S. can now make low-cost Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls using their PC to call traditional or mobile phones in more than 180 countries. Calls within the U.S. and to more than 30 countries can be made for two cents a minute or less. Additionally, U.S. consumers can receive calls on their PC from traditional and mobile phones for $2.99 a month or $29.90 a year with the Phone In feature. Phone In gives people a virtual presence in their city of choice, and wherever they travel, their phone number will follow them.
The new PC-based calling features were initially introduced to international users in December 2005, and will continue to be rolled out in additional localized versions. The enhanced Yahoo! Messenger with Voice features will also be introduced into Yahoo!'s co-branded Internet access services, including AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet, in the coming months.
The new PC-based voice calling capabilities join the suite of communications solutions in Yahoo! Messenger with Voice including text instant messaging (IM), PC-to-PC calling, e-mail, mobile text messaging, photo sharing and video. New enhancements to the service include:
-- Phone Out: U.S. audiences can easily stay in touch with their friends and family in more than 180 countries across the Europe, Asia and the Americas, with low-cost calling from their PC to traditional phones and mobile phones. Calls within the U.S. and to more than 30 other countries can be made for two U.S. cents a minute or less. Specific calling rates can be found at: http://voice.yahoo.com.
-- Phone In: The Phone In service gives U.S. audiences the ability to receive calls on their PC from traditional and mobile phones. For $2.99 a month or $29.90 a year, people can select a personal phone number, and receive incoming calls at no additional charge. For instance, New York residents, who have friends and family in London, are able to choose a local London-based phone number. When remote friends and family make calls to the personal number, they will be charged for placing a local phone call to that phone number. People can choose to have multiple phone numbers, and wherever they travel, their phone numbers will follow them. In the beta service, country-based phone numbers are initially available in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States with additional country-based numbers available in the coming months.
-- Free Voicemail: People will now be able to take advantage of a free voicemail service with both their PC-to-PC inbound calls and Phone In calls. If a call is missed, whether from a PC, traditional phone or mobile phone, people can easily retrieve the message at no additional cost. Additionally, Yahoo! Mail now includes useful links to Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, enabling people to easily check their voicemail directly from Yahoo! Mail.
-- Contact Search Bar: The new Contact Search Bar provides a fast way to find and quickly connect with friends and family. As people type their friends' names, Yahoo! IDs, phone numbers, nicknames or any other information stored in their contact details, matching results will automatically populate the Contact Search Bar. Choose how to communicate with friends, whether it is through text IM, voice calling, e-mail or mobile text messaging, becomes easier than ever.
The new beta of Yahoo! Messenger with voice is currently available in 8 localized versions around the world including: France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore(4), Spain, United States, Yahoo! en Espanol.