Yahoo injects messaging into its email

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Yahoo injects messaging into its email

Webmail service to include support for real-time chat.

Users of Yahoo Mail will soon find instant messaging capabilities within the popular webmail service.

The company said that it has integrated an instant messaging component into the latest beta versions of Yahoo Mail. The feature is slated for released to all users over the next several months as a free service.

Yahoo already offered a stand alone web based version of its IM client, as well as a client based application. Google last year was the first to integrate its Google Talk client with its online email service. 

Yahoo said that it expects the move to expand the messaging service to webmail users who otherwise avoid downloading and installing a stand-alone messaging application.

"We're transforming Yahoo! Mail into a tool that's about communicating; regardless of the form that communication takes," explained John Kremer, vice president of Yahoo Mail.

Features of the service include the ability to see when contacts are online, respond to emails with an instant message, and continue an online chat as an email when a person goes offline.

The move comes as Yahoo seeks to continue its market dominance over recently revamped competitors such as Hotmail and Gmail. January statistics from data firm Hitwise showed that Yahoo's mail site (mail.yahoo.com) was the third most-visited website on the Internet, behind only Myspace and Google.

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