July 17 will be a black day for users who are—or at least once were—staunch patrons of Yahoo Messenger, as Yahoo has decided to pull the plug on the service for good. The service was one of the earliest IM services in the modern computing world.
Although the messaging service will cease to work from July 17, users wanting to download their chat history on their computer can still do so for the next six months by visiting this page. “After July 17, you'll no longer be able to access your chats and the service will no longer work,” writes the Oath-owned brand, in a help page for Yahoo Messenger.
Yahoo Messenger began life in early 1998 as Yahoo Pager before gaining its iconic name and branding in June 1999. Since then, two decades have passed and the service has seen numerous updates. Like Google Talk, it was one of those few chat services that enjoyed the freedom of client interoperability during its prime. For a while, it even had games users could play online with their friends. When the world moved to smartphones, Yahoo Messenger moved too. The app was available on iOS and Android in six different languages apart from English.
While Yahoo currently has no replacement planned for its long-standing Messenger, it tells us it’s “constantly experimenting with new services and apps,” and suggests we try Yahoo Squirrel, a group messaging app that’s available solely on an invite basis.
As Yahoo Messenger joins the retirement home for time-honoured IM services like AOL Instant Messenger (retired in December 2017) and Google Talk (retired in February 2015), we look on with a bittersweet sense of nostalgia and expect the IM services of the present to make their own mark in history.