Yahoo will ping Messenger 8 IMers to upgrade

In a few weeks, Yahoo will urge Windows users still chatting on Yahoo Messenger 8 and Yahoo Messenger 9 beta to upgrade to the free Yahoo Messenger 9.

Yahoo Upgrade Notice
If you use Yahoo Messenger 8 or 9 beta, you'll see this message in a few weeks. (Credit: Yahoo Inc.)

Sometimes, skipping a software update makes sense. Sticking to Windows XP instead of switching to the Vista operating system is a case in point. Yahoo Messenger 9 is not.

On Tuesday, Yahoo announced that it's time to grow up. Like it or not, in a few weeks, Windows users still chatting on Yahoo Messenger 8 and Yahoo Messenger 9 beta will see a window pop up at sign-in urging an upgrade to the latest version of the free chat client. While there's no indication that Yahoo will force you to change, it's a sure bet that nag screen will get old fast.

The question is, should you do it? From our end, there's no reason not to. Version 9, released last September, was a welcome update that made a few bold changes, many of them visual improvements. These include additions to skins, friend importing, in-window video and image embedding, and some additional antispam security. Those who weren't fans of the much more sprawling display can also retreat to the compact view familiar from Yahoo's previous IM model.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.