Yahoo Messenger 9 retains all the voice, chat, and drag-and-drop capabilities of its predecessors, and adds a lot more visual pizazz and some key functionality. One biggie feature is contact importing, which scours your other IM, e-mail, and social-networking accounts for friends that are also signed up on Yahoo IM. You can then ask some or all of your friends to add you and can invite others to sign up. Another favorite new trick is the ability to see images and videos displayed inside the chat window when you or a pal drops in a public URL.
Other notable changes include the visual skin picker to switch up the look, and Pingbox, a chat window site owners can embed to chat with visitors in real time. Users should note that the download stub will finish installing the program online, and that the download bundles the Yahoo Toolbar. In the preinstallation window, click over to Custom Install to deselect add-ons you don't want. We could also live without the heavy-handed Yahoo branding, and it would be nice to see a link to hidden smileys in the emoticon drop-down, but these are minor niggles when weighed against the benefits of an easy-to-use, feature-rich chat client that only continues to improve.