Sunday, February 18, 2007

Yahoo mail with Instant Messaging service integrated

Yahoo has followed Google's lead and integrated its instant messaging (IM) service with web-based email program. With the new email service, still in beta, users will be able to access Yahoo Messenger from within the popular Yahoo Mail, potentially providing a huge boost to the Yahoo Messenger user base.

Yahoo Messenger currently has about 100 million users, while Yahoo Mail has an estimated 250 million users. Last year, Yahoo signed an interoperability agreement with Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger, which has a user base of about 200 million.

While IM has caught on as a means of communication with younger and Internet savvy users, as well as many business users, it still has not achieved the widespread appeal of email among the wider Internet consumer populace.

Yahoo hopes to change that by automatically putting Yahoo Messenger front and center for its email user base, the majority of whom don't use it.

The new release of Yahoo Mail will eliminate the necessity for users to download the Yahoo Messenger program and allow them to initiate a messaging session from within the email program. Users of Yahoo Mail will be able to see which of their messaging contacts are online.

For those who have not used instant messaging, it is a far more immediate way of communicating than email and enables communications to take place at a conversational rate. Many IM programs, such as Skype, which is primarily an Internet telephony application, include voice and video communications components.

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