You may have heard that Yahoo Messenger for the iPhone/iPod Touch v2 is out, and that it supports Facetime-like calling over WiFi and 3G. You may have also heard that it can do something that you'd think Apple would have working in iChat by now – video calls to a computer.
Well, you heard right – if you're running Windows on your computer, I suppose. Because the latest (beta) Mac client will *not* send/receive video via an iPhone. It will do audio – and as a nice feature, if you call someone and they don't answer, you can leave a message that gets sent to them via email – but video does not work.
It does work fine via Wifi between iPhones, and it works over 3G as well. The video, as you might expect, is kind of choppy over 3G, and the audio can be slightly too, but it's perfectly usable.
You can also send text messages back and forth, and that seemed to work OK as well.
I did run into weird circumstances though – sometimes while testing voice or video, I would call one phone from the other, and the second phone would ring and show who was calling – but it wouldn't give me the "accept" and "reject" buttons! I had no way to answer the call.
If you call someone who doesn't have Yahoo Instant Messenger running in the foreground, you will get a popup message that so and so is calling. If your phone is locked, swiping to unlock answers the call. If it's unlocked, you also get "close" and "accept" buttons.
The interface is a bit frustrating. There's a pretty tiny target area for you to tap to change your status – miss and you're adding a contact.
But the most frustrating thing? Here, I've opened a contact (and shown that I can't type worth a darn):
You can click on the icons at the top to pass a picture (which you can take right now) or a URL, hit the phone to send an SMS message, the camera for video, or the microphone for audio chat. But after a few seconds, it slips up and out of sight (here it is almost gone):
You can pull the whole page down to get them back, but they tend to slip up again almost immediately. I found myself fighting to bring the darn thing down long enough to hit one of the icons.
So while this isn't bad, there are other alternatives for 3G messaging (that are also free). One of the biggest selling points – video to desktops – doesn't work with Macs. That was the only reason I even wanted it! Hopefully Yahoo will get that working in the Mac version of Messenger soon.