Yahoo Kills Their Public Chat
December 4, 2012

Yahoo Public Chat To Be Shut Down For Good December 14

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Yesterday, Yahoo announced they´d be killing off their public chat rooms, a feature that very few have recently used but was once an incredibly popular service. In a move to streamline their products and do their own rendition of “more wood behind fewer arrows,” Yahoo also announced a few other slashes and changes, allowing the team to create “experiences that make Yahoo! the most fun way to spend your time.”

In a blog post, Yahoo has announced that public chats will no longer be available on December 14, 2012. The decision to kill off public chat is actually part of a larger decision to scale back their messaging client, Yahoo Messenger. Yahoo introduced this client in 1998.

“In order to focus on providing great new features for Yahoo! Messenger, we are discontinuing some Messenger services, including our public chat rooms on December 14,” reads an article on Yahoo Help.

“We know that some long-term Yahoo! Messenger users still enjoy these topic-based communities, however we feel that by embracing the modern technologies and platforms available today, Yahoo! will uncover better ways to foster meaningful communities and connections with the people you care about.”

In the early days of the Internet, public chats were quite popular, and Yahoo´s were some of the first. As time moved on and technology advanced, fewer people used chat rooms, preferring other ways to communicate with one another via the Internet. In 2005, these public chats had come under some fire, sending Yahoo to shut down some rooms which were allegedly frequented by pedophiles.

For instance, chat rooms in the “Schools and Education” and “Teens” categories with names such as “girls 13 and up for much older men,” and “8-12 yo (sic) girls for older men” were closed due to these allegations.

Yahoo also made a change to their policies, restricting anyone younger than 18 from using their chat rooms.

Yahoo has also announced they will discontinue Pingbox on December 14. Pingbox linked blogs and social network profiles together with Yahoo Messenger, allowing these users to chat privately with visitors to their social sites through the Yahoo Messenger service. Yahoo is encouraging any user with Pingbox installed on their social sites to uninstall it before December 14.

The time for Yahoo Messenger and Microsoft Windows Live Messenger to part ways has finally come. As of December 14, Yahoo´s Messenger will no longer be interoperable with Microsoft´s. According to the blog post, Yahoo users will still see their Microsoft friends in their contact list, but their names will be “greyed out,” and any messages sent to them will not be delivered.

Microsoft has already announced that they´ll be shutting down the Messenger service in the first quarter of 2013 and moving these users into Skype´s network.

Finally, Yahoo is announcing an end to another bit of 2008 technology: Their Yahoo Voice Phone In and Phone Out capabilities, their co-branded landline and mobile phone service from Jahjah. This change will be effective on January 30. Starting yesterday, users no longer have the option to add any money to their accounts. Any users who had remaining balances in their accounts will be receiving an email from Jahjah this month to explain how to request a refund. Yahoo Messenger users can still place user-to-user calls through Messenger.