Users of Yahoo Mail will soon find instant messaging capabilities within the popular webmail service.
The company has integrated an IM component into the latest beta versions of Yahoo Mail. The feature is slated for released to all users over the next few months as a free service.
Yahoo already offers a standalone web-based version of its IM client, as well as a client-based application. Google was the first to integrate its Google Talk client with its online email service last year.
Yahoo said that it expects the move to expand the messaging service to webmail users who otherwise avoid downloading and installing standalone messaging applications.
"We are 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.
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