Everything that has a beginning, has an end.
After 20 glorious years (well, most of them), the end is near for Yahoo Messenger. Rather, the end is now! Moments before it rides into the sunset, it’s time to say a quick goodbye to an old companion from my college days and beyond.
Those who started their online chat journey with WhatsApp or even Google Talk (Hangouts) may not have been touched by Yahoo Messenger, and probably unaware of its significance. For those who had the good fortune to grow with the Internet and witness its evolution from close quarters, Yahoo Messenger holds a special place in their heart. The first among the illustrious chat clients that let you connect with your friends online in a group or one to one, it was a breakthrough technology for its time. And it’s hard to believe it’s been two decades already!
I won’t get all romantic and claim to remember the first time I tried my hand at Yahoo Messenger. Because I don’t. Yes, it’s been 20 years. But there’s no denying about the good times many of us had using it. Hell, some of us might have found or connected with their partners to be on Yahoo Messenger. I certainly know a few. But I digress. If my memory serves me right, it was perhaps the first chat client to incorporate regular and animated emojis (or emoticons, as they were called back then) adding a bit of emotion and fun to the textual conversations. Yahoo messenger grew from being just a chat client to an integrated service with news, mail alerts, file sharing etc, and was a dominant player in the space for quite a while.
As bulk of the communication moved from Desktop to Mobile, Yahoo and their messenger couldn’t keep pace with the newer technologies. And of course, users of technology are a fickle breed, always looking for more modern things to play with. And who would blame them with all the new-age apps with fancy features on offer and, of course, peer pressure. Now that the iconic messenger is about to shut down for good, we are suddenly standing up and taking notice. Seems like a rude awakening for some.
But let’s be honest, we abandoned Yahoo Messenger long before Yahoo did. Again, I am not blaming anybody, but such is the nature of this technology space where things get obsolete faster than anybody can imagine, and people move on to newer pastures. To survive for 20 years in such a domain where evolution works in overdrive is something that needs to be celebrated, rather than lamenting its end. Yahoo Messenger may have reached the end of the road, but not before showing the way to many a communication apps that we use today. And for that Yahoo Messenger will always stay special long beyond its discontinuation.
I won’t shed a tear or use phrases like RIP to bid it adieu. It has been a good journey, a long innings for which, all I would say is ‘Well played, mate!’ And, enjoy your retirement.