March 3, 2004 (STAR) MEANWHILE By Michelle Katigbak - As I sat in the newly renovated Paparazzi Italian restaurant at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel about a week ago I couldn’t help but think to myself: Oh no! As if we Filipinos needed another reason to be stuck to our mobile phones. As it is, we can’t seem to live without them. I admit at the start I was hesitant to hop onto the cellphone bandwagon relying simply on my pager to keep me connected. But I couldn’t deny it for long and as soon as I got my first phone over five years ago I cannot go through a day without it. It’s been become like an appendage and one can’t help but feel naked without their trusty little mobile at hand.

So, whether we were looking for an additional reason to be cellular dependent or not, Yahoo! Asia has decided to give us one anyway and I was about to meet their head of marketing and communications Miguel Bernas to find out more. Over the years the Yahoo! website has easily become a household name. As the World Wide Web grew in scope, Yahoo! provided a handy search engine that could help us comb through the Web’s vast resources to find what we needed.

As the site progressed Yahoo! soon began providing more and more services to its loyal clients such as Travel News, Dictionary features, and free personalized e-mail (I’m sure we all have Yahoo! accounts). Then, the truly innovative feature popped up – the Yahoo! Instant Messenger service. By logging onto this network you could easily send instant messages through the Web to all your friends who happened to be online as well. Like shorter quicker e-mails with various sound effects and emoticons instant messages became the web’s response to SMS and people all over were logged on and passing around their Yahoo! IM handles to keep in touch with friends. I’ve used it to schedule chats with my buddies in the US, Spain, London, and Australia and it’s a very handy way of keeping in touch.

Now, Yahoo! has taken another step towards quick and handy communication and has introduced a new way of keeping people connected. Now, we cannot only send instant messages to our friends online via the Web but we can also keep in touch with them when they’re not in front of the computer by using Yahoo! Messenger to send a message to their cellphones.

"It was the next inevitable step in communication," Miguel Bernas explains. "We couldn’t help but notice the incredible amount of message traffic going through our system and we thought that IM and SMS integration would be a wonderful way to come full circle in connection."

Indeed, Yahoo! has come a long way in keeping everyone connected. This latest step in integration allows you to stay in touch without even having to be at your computer. "You can use your phone to log onto the network and send messages to any of your contacts that are online," Miguel relays. "And the opposite is also true. When you’re online and someone you’d like to reach is not, you can send them a message straight to their mobile phone. It’s basically making Yahoo! more accessible and more mobile."

It’s a dream come true for Yahoo! execs who want to continue pushing the envelope when it comes to communication but it might be somewhat of a nightmare for offices all over the country. As if the favored website didn’t offer employees enough distraction during work hours they’re now giving folks a way to compliment one distraction, the computer, with another, the mobile phone! Yup, say goodbye to non-distracted, completely focused employees. And pretty soon, Yahoo! will also be providing fun add-ons for our phones as well as our Messenger.

"Since we’ve seamlessly merged two of the latest growing modes of person-to-person communication, we want to go a bit further and allow people to personalize their cellphones with the coolest Yahoo! fun ringtones, wallpapers, and games," Miguel adds. "We really feel the Philippines is the perfect market for this as the country plays a pivotal role in Yahoo! business because of the Filipino’s renewed adoption of mobile technology and the demands of their on-the-go lifestyle."

Without a doubt, Yahoo! knows that mobile technology plays a large part in the lives of every Filipino. The need for constant communication and staying in touch is what drives the advanced mobile culture in our country and Yahoo! has just found another way of making this possible. Now with the merger, Yahoo! Messenger has easily connected online communication with 29 million mobile phones in the Philippines.

So we’ve now got yet another reason to desperately cling onto our trusty computers and mobile telephones. Yahoo! is now accessible outside the Web with our wireless products. It would seem that now is the time to get unplugged with Asia’s leading pioneer of wireless mobile technology.

Users can log into their Yahoo! Messenger from their mobile phones by entering "y!username y!password" to 2580 (Smart users) or 22580 (Globe users). Once logged in you can send messages as if you were on your PC. Or check out the website or direct at

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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