As reported earlier (see below), while being booted out of Tullys in downtown San Francisco as I was enjoying a espresso with Om Malik, catching up on gossip, rumors and tales that we both privy to and some that we're not supposed to know, a call came in to me about SipPhone/Gizmo Project lowering their prices, seeking to beat Yahoo to the punch.
Well now, after a wonderful Indian dinner, I drove back to Sacramento and low and behold Yahoo has gotten their story out about their new Messenger with PC to PSTN features. Apparently it's not yet available as a beta here in the USA according to the release below.
Here's the press release.
Yahoo! Introduces Voice Services Internationally with New PC-to-Phone and Phone-to-PC Calling in Yahoo! Messenger with Voice
Sunnyvale, CA – December 13, 2005 -- Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO - News), a leading global Internet company, today announced the international launch of a new public beta of its real-time communications suite, Yahoo!® Messenger with Voice (http://messenger.yahoo.com).
Yahoo! Messenger with Voice enables enhanced PC-based calling capabilities with low rates for making and receiving phone calls.
International audiences can now make Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) PC-to-Phone calls by using their PC to place calls to traditional or mobile phones in the U.S. for about one U.S. cent a minute, and make calls to more than 30 other countries for less than about two U.S. cents per minute.
Additionally, local versions have been made available in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore and Spain.
The new beta service will be available to users in the U.S. in early 2006.
“Yahoo! is excited to be the first major IM provider to bring full-featured PC-based phone calling capabilities to our international Yahoo! Messenger community,” said Brad Garlinghouse, vice president, Communications Products, Yahoo! Inc. “As we look forward, we see an extraordinary opportunity for Yahoo! to provide next generation voice services across our global network, from communications to search, which will deliver great value to our hundreds of millions of users around the world.”
Staying in Touch is Easy
The new PC-based voice calling capabilities join the suite of communications solutions in Yahoo! Messenger with Voice including text IM, PC-to-PC calling, e-mail, mobile text messaging, photo sharing and video. New enhancements to the service include:
· Phone Out: International audiences can make low cost calls to more than 180 countries from their PC to traditional phones and mobile phones. Calls to the U.S. can be made for about one U.S. cent a minute and to more than 30 international countries for less than about two U.S. cents a minute, including calls to Europe, Asia and the Americas. To simplify worldwide Phone Out calling, prepaid credit plans are available.
· Phone In: The Phone In service gives international audiences the ability to receive calls on their PC from traditional and mobile phones. For about U.S. $2.99 a month or about U.S. $29.90 a year, people can select a personal phone number, and receive incoming calls at no additional charge. For instance, Hong Kong residents, who have friends and family in San Francisco, are able to choose a local San Francisco-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.
· 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. People then choose how they want to communicate with their friend, whether it is through text IM, voice calling, e-mail or mobile text messaging.
· Open Talk: By setting the status message to ‘Open Talk,’ people will allow their friends to instantly connect to them via a PC-to-PC voice conversation at any time. Because there is a direct connection, there is no need to accept an incoming call request. This is a great solution for working parents to have a consistent connection with their kids at home or for sports fans to communicate with each other while watching the big game on TV.
About Yahoo! Voice
Through Yahoo! Voice’s efforts, consumers will be able to take advantage of enhanced PC-based voice communications capabilities as part of their overall Internet experience. Yahoo! Voice will continue to offer advanced voice calling features and extend its PC-based voice platform across the Yahoo! Network. Today, Yahoo! Voice provides compelling calling solutions in Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.
About Yahoo! Messenger
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-to-PC calling, e-mail, video or mobile text messaging.
Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide. Yahoo! seeks to provide online products and services essential to users' lives, and offers a full range of tools and marketing solutions for businesses to connect with Internet users around the world. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.
IMVironments, Yahoo! and the Yahoo! logo are registered trademarks of Yahoo! Inc.
All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners. © 2005 Yahoo! Inc., All rights reserved.
1 Yahoo! Voice Phone Out and Phone In services are provided by the following Yahoo! companies: (1) In the United States, Yahoo! Communications USA Inc; (2) In France, Germany, Italy and Spain, Yahoo! Communications Europe Ltd.; (3) In Hong Kong, Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Limited; and (4) In Singapore, Yahoo! Pte Ltd.