Be a VoIP DJ using Yahoo Messenger with Voice

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Randy Savicky
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Be a VoIP DJ using Yahoo Messenger with Voice

Yahoo Messenger PluginsYahoo! Messenger with Voice on Tuesday will introduce custom plug-in features and will now allow developers to custom made applications. Some of the hghlighted plug-ins include plugin applications for Amazon.com, Yahoo 360, and eBay. My guess is we'll also see integration with Flickr and other popular community (Web 2.0) sites as well through developer-created plugins.

There is a small VoIP component to the announcement  The new soundboard feature allows people to add short sound effects into their voice conversations, including ‘audience booing’ and ‘birds chirping’ sound effects.  Additionally, with the Soundtrack feature, people can drag and drop MP3 music files stored on their PC and they will play as background music while they are talking to their friends. So get your DJ groove on and VoIP it up all night long! :)

I actually have been "wishing" for the ability for VoIP softphones to stream mp3s (and videos) for years. I also wrote in my recent "the perfect softphone" entry that I wished for the ability to stream mp3s and video from a softphone client. I know I recommended this feature to some headset manufacturers, including Plantronics to be able to "conference" the PC connection with the telephone connection so you could stream any sounds/music using your headset and whatever PC audiio software (iTunes, Microsoft Media Player, etc.) you want. I know I have a link to this suggestion somewhere - will update this post when I find it.

Update! I found one of the articles I wrote where I suggested "conferencing" the PC audio with the telephony connection. I wrote this suggestion back in 1997 in CTI Magazine before VoIP was even well-known. Guess I was ahead of my time! :) It was a product review of Plantronics Headset Switcher Adaptor where I made this suggestion. I also made this suggestion in Internet Telephony Magazine and possibly in my blog. I write so much it's hard to keep track. In any case, here's a link to the PDF of the magazine containing the article, and here's an excerpt:

With a simple push of a button, you can switch quickly between listening to music on your multimedia PC and answering an incoming call. Other uses include being able to switch easily from a regular telephone conversation to a computer audio function (such as Internet telephony, personal conferencing, speech recognition, computer telephony, training, and Web-based sound or music) or to a CD player without having to switch headsets.

Room for Improvement:
We’d like to have music piped into a phone conversation. We’d suggest including another button that would combine the computer and phone channels so users could hear a PC’s sound output and a caller at the same time. Such a feature would enable you to play music to a caller and talk at the same time.

We imagine simultaneous sound output and voice would be useful in a call center setting. If the agents were marketing CDs, seminar tapes, etc., they could talk to the caller and play a good-quality version of a product they were trying to sell, and they could do so with a click of the mouse button.

Not only could you play CDs to your friends or possible customers, but you could also “combine channels” to create a personalized on-hold greeting. (You would have to make sure the PC’s CD-ROM is playing music at the time, or the caller will hear silence.) You could also record and play your own .WAV files.

To take our “combine channels” idea a step further, you could use it to play any of your voice mail messages to the caller. This would work if you employ some sort of unified messaging solution. Just double-click on the voice mail message in your Exchange/GroupWise/CC: Mail mailbox and play the sound file to the caller. You could play your voice mail message and talk to the caller at the same time.


In any event, the Amazon API is quite popular with other platforms. I use an Amazon plugin on this blog. The Yahoo Messenger Amazon plugin accesses this same API to to view ‘What’s Hot’ and ‘What’s New’ across Amazon.com’s collection of retail categories, and make recommendations to other Yahoo! Messenger with Voice users in real time.  People can also share their Wish Lists with one another. As part of this new version, they also beefed up Yahoo Messenger's file tranfer capabilities to 1GB.

Here's the full news release:

Yahoo! Messenger with Voice Introduces Custom Plug-In Features and Opens Up its Platform to Developers

New Plug-in Applications Available for Amazon.com, eBay and Host of Web Services Allow Users to Tailor their Yahoo! Messenger Experience

Sunnyvale, CA – June 20, 2006 – Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) today introduced a new beta of its real time communications suite, Yahoo!® Messenger with Voice (http://messenger.yahoo.com), with custom plug-in features.  Plug-ins are free mini applications that can be easily added to the Yahoo! Messenger with Voice experience to make it that much more personal and interactive.   Additionally, Yahoo! Messenger with Voice has opened up its Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to encourage external and Yahoo! developers to build plug-ins for one of the largest consumer instant messaging (IM) communities worldwide.  With plug-ins, people will be able to take advantage of popular Web services right from Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, including an Amazon.com plug-in that lets users share their Wish Lists with friends and family and an eBay  plug-in to stay on top of their bidding activity throughout the day.

“The new plug-ins for Yahoo! Messenger with Voice empower people to create the communications experience they want, by giving them a way to customize their IM service with their favorite Web features and services,” said Brad Garlinghouse, senior vice president of Communications, Community and Front Doors, Yahoo! Inc.  “We are inviting developers to use Yahoo! Messenger with Voice’s plug-in technology in new and creative ways and believe that our tens of millions of users worldwide will benefit from industry-wide innovation as a result.”

Pick and Choose Plug-Ins

Plug-ins give people a way to further personalize IM, collaborate, and share experiences with their growing network of friends, family, and colleagues.  By working with some of the most popular consumer Internet services and some of the most compelling emerging Internet services available, Yahoo! is bringing the best of the Web right into Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.  In the beta version, a suite of third-party plug-ins will be available for Amazon.com, AmericanGreetings.com, Coupons, Inc., eBay, HedgeStreet, Inc., Jeteye, NewsGator Technologies Inc., Pando Networks Inc., 30Boxes, as well as plug-ins from Yahoo!’s leading Web services including Yahoo! Answers, Calendar, Finance, Music, News, Sports, 360°.

Plug-in Picker:  People can view the latest featured plug-ins as well as customize their own suite of plug-ins from the Plug-in Picker, which is easily accessed from below the contact list.

Amazon.com Plug-In:   People can use the Amazon.com plug-in to view ‘What’s Hot’ and ‘What’s New’ across Amazon.com’s comprehensive collection of retail categories, and make recommendations to other Yahoo! Messenger with Voice users in real time.  People can also share their Wish Lists with one another – a great way to find the perfect gift.  This plug-in for Yahoo! Messenger with Voice uses Amazon.com product data and e-commerce functionality that is available through the Amazon E-Commerce Service from Amazon Web Services.

eBay Plug-In: The eBay plug-in gives people direct and timely access to the eBay marketplace.  It provides the ability to track watched eBay listings, monitor bidding activity, and view items recently won.  People can effortlessly stay on top of all their eBay activity from within Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.  The eBay plug-in was developed using eBay's open APIs through the eBay Developers Program.

Yahoo! Calendar Plug-In:  From the Yahoo! Calendar plug-in, people can compare calendars in real time, search Yahoo! Local and Yahoo! Maps for meeting places and send appointment invites through IM.  People have the ability to add, edit or delete appointments while they are making arrangements with their friends and family through Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. 

Yahoo! Event Finder Plug-In:  Friends and family can effortlessly plan their events together in this interactive plug-in.  The Yahoo! Event Finder plug-in allows people to use Yahoo! Local to look up restaurants, museums, music venues or any event in their local area and use Yahoo! Maps to find the location.

Yahoo! Music Plug-In:  With the LAUNCHcast Radio Plug-in, people can listen to free customized or pre-programmed radio stations directly from Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. 

Yahoo! 360° Plug-In:  People can more easily stay up-to-date with their friends’ news by viewing their blogs, photos or other Yahoo! 360° updates from Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.  Additionally, all Yahoo! Messenger with Voice users now have their own Yahoo! 360° page where they can share what matters to them.

Open Platform
Through the Yahoo! Developer Network (http://developer.yahoo.com) Yahoo! is committed to opening up its products for third party developers to create applications which utilize Yahoo!’s technology in innovative ways.  For the first time, Yahoo! is opening up its real time communication platform to spark innovation and encourage the developer community to create plug-ins with the new software developer kit (SDK).  The plug-in SDK is available at: http://developer.yahoo.com/messenger.  Developers can work with Yahoo! to make their plug-ins available to Yahoo! Messenger with Voice users at http://us.gallery.yahoo.com/messenger.

Additional Enhancements

Increased Friends List: To keep up with the growing community of friends and family using Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, people now have the ability to add up to 1000 contacts on their friends’ list.

Sound Effects:  The Soundboard feature allows people to add short sound effects into their voice conversations, including ‘audience booing’ and ‘birds chirping’ sound effects.  Additionally, with the Soundtrack feature, people can drag and drop MP3 music files stored on their PC and they will play as background music while they are talking to their friends.  

Increased File Transfer Limit:  To meet the increasing need to easily transfer documents and photo images through IM, the file transfer size has increased ten times to 1 gigabyte.  

The beta version of Yahoo! Messenger with Voice is launching simultaneously in 19 localized versions around the world including: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Canada en francais,  China, France, Hong Kong, Korea, India, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and Yahoo! en Espanol.

In the U.S., Yahoo! users in AT&T's traditional 13-state local service area will receive an AT&T Yahoo! branded version of the new beta of Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. 

About Yahoo! Messenger with Voice

As one of the most popular instant messaging services on the Internet, Yahoo! Messenger with Voice (http://messenger.yahoo.com) makes it easier than ever for people to express themselves, interact and manage relationships with friends and family. Yahoo! Messenger with Voice has a unique and proven history of innovation in instant messaging as the first to offer Webcam functionality, the first to introduce an interactive and shared experience with IMVironments®, and the first to introduce animated emoticons. Yahoo! Messenger with Voice continues to the lead the marketplace by integrating with leading Yahoo! services including games, music, photos and search, and providing the greatest choice for consumers to stay connected to one another through text IM, PC-based calling, e-mail, video and mobile text messaging.


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