Yahoo! just sent me the following heads-up:

The beta version of Yahoo! Messenger for Vista is now available at the newly re-designed Yahoo! Messenger Web site.

As the #1 IM application in the US and with more than 97 million users worldwide, the Yahoo! Messenger team has taken into account the valuable feedback provided by users on the preview release of Yahoo! Messenger for Vista.  With this beta release, Vista OS users will now be able to make voice calls via Yahoo! Messenger and send text or SMS messages to mobile phone users.

Key features in this beta version of Yahoo! Messenger for Vista include:

  • Voice
    - Voice (PC2PC & Phone In/ Phone Out)
    - Voice Visualizations (including WPF 3D integration)
    - SMS
    - Integrated text/voice window for easier navigation
    - Keypad-only mode for quick, simple phone calls
  • Matrix Mode Conversation Window
  • Mail Alerts
  • Additional features and enhancements:
    - New and Optimized for Vista
    - WPF Interface
    - Skin Chooser
    - Customizable Contact List
    - Vector-based
    - Tabbed Conversations
    - Windows Sidebar Gadget

Full details on the beta release, including a screencast of the service can be found at the Yahoo! Messenger blog and newly re-designed Web site.

Nicely done. It's still somewhat astonishing to me that Yahoo! is doing a better job of taking advantage of Vista-specific features in its IM client than is Microsoft.

Download Yahoo! Messenger for Windows Vista Beta