November 9, 2006 8:50 AM PST

Yahoo to embed instant messaging in e-mail

SAN FRANCISCO--Yahoo is planning to embed instant messaging into its Web-based e-mail program within the next few months so that people can have live chats in Yahoo Mail, even if they don't have an instant-messaging application installed, a Yahoo executive announced on Thursday.

Brad Garlinghouse, vice president of communications, communities and front doors at Yahoo, gave a technology preview at the Web 2.0 Summit here of a new feature planned for Yahoo Mail that seamlessly integrates instant messaging.

Embedded instant messages

Garlinghouse said the reasoning behind melding instant messaging and email is to improve the overall "user experience," something which can be lacking in many so-called Web 2.0 services.

"I would argue that many Web 2.0 applications are already dead," he said. "Web 2.0 as an application is leaving tremendous value on the table for consumers and for us as businesses."

With the new feature, users will be able to see if their contacts are logged on to Yahoo Mail and easily chat with them. They will also be able to see the online status of contacts who have Yahoo Instant Messenger, chatting with them as well. Eventually, they will be able to chat with Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger users too. Yahoo and Microsoft made their instant-messaging applications interoperable in July.

The auto-complete function in Yahoo Mail will indicate if a contact is online, and starting a chat will be as simple as clicking once, Yahoo said. Users will also be able to easily send a copy of chat sessions to people in an e-mail and to copy e-mails into chat windows.

The embedded instant-messaging feature will be rolled out to Yahoo Mail users in the next couple of months, Garlinghouse said. Yahoo Mail already indicates to users when their Yahoo Messenger contacts are online and allows them to launch a dialog instantly, but users need to have the IM client installed.

Google added chat to Gmail earlier this year, but the experience is not as integrated as the new Yahoo Mail functionality appears to be. (You can find additional commentary on the Yahoo technology on CNET's new Webware blog.)

Neither AOL nor Microsoft has integrated chat into their e-mail programs, though Hotmail indicates when contacts who use the MSN Messenger client are online. Meanwhile, all the major instant-messaging applications are including e-mail integration.

Garlinghouse said that Web 2.0 applications should be designed for end users who aren't necessarily technically savvy.

Right now, he said, Web 2.0 applications are limited to "Silicon Valley influencers."

"The Web 2.0 experience is how to make things social, a people-centric experience," he said. "Technical specifications have never been less important to the success of a product."

CNET News.com's Martin LaMonica contributed to this report.

See more CNET content tagged:
Yahoo! Mail, Web 2.0, Yahoo! Inc., IM, Yahoo IM

14 comments

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Is it really functional?
Has anybody thought about the true functionality of this feature that Google added to Gmail earlier this year and now Yahoo is trying to copycat? I personally use msn live messenger a lot to keep in touch with family members during the week. I travel a lot and this is why this tool becomes handy to me, but I bearly never use the chatting feature embeded in gmail. I may not be seeing something here, but I don't believe its worth it.
Posted by GiovanniMolina (1 comment )
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RE: IS IT REALLY FUNCTIONAL?
I have to agree. I have only used the chat function in GMail once...and that was to see if it actually worked.

If you really want to IM without installing the application, use Meebo (www.meebo.com).
Posted by whargoul (52 comments )
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Can we chat with the spammers?
I want to chat with the spammers.
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
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Great - now alot of companies will ban Yahoo! mail..
We aren't allowed to IM..but allowed into Yahoo! mail.

Will companies now block Yahoo! mail?
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
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Remind me to block that...
It's a pain as it is to keep out the various virus/phishing/etc crap that comes down the pike. Now we gotta deal with this crap.

No.

It gets blocked the nanosecond I see it happen, unless the Boss says otherwise.
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
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Maybe we will have automated spam chat bots in the email too..
How long before we see that?

BUY ViAgRA!
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Web messangers...
...have been around for a while now (including one from Yahoo...). Look at some great examples, like meebo.com.

So even if you don't have IM applications installed, you can always use these, like I do all the time. Yahoo Mail is already bloated with ads. Adding chats would make it even worse.
Posted by feranick (212 comments )
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and this is different from Gmail how...?
Hasn't Gmail had the exact same function all year? I mean, I've surprised many people by 'messaging' them when they were just checking their mail...

Is this new?
Posted by kuguy3000 (21 comments )
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Bad idea
Have they thought this through? Will businesses now have to block Yahoo email and Gmail to inhibit employee interrruptions for personal IM/email? Can there be too much interconnectivity?
Posted by bdboyce (5 comments )
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Bad idea
Have they thought this through? Will businesses now have to block Yahoo email and Gmail to inhibit employee interrruptions for personal IM/email? Can there be too much interconnectivity?
Posted by bdboyce (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tell em what ya think
Good idea? Bad idea? Tell him yourself... Brad Garlinghouse / Yahoo Messenger ID: bgarlinghouse
Posted by crackspot (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
very bad ideal
what is yahoo thinking about,they need to fix the problem in the chat rooms 1st, bots,voice laggers,and booters, spam bots, before they think about chat in your yahoo mail
Posted by tigerclaw12 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
i already tried this features it's cool!
http://myfacefriends.com
Posted by myfacefriends (1 comment )
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BREAKING PRIVACY NEWS! "YAHOO SHOOTS ITSELF IN THE FOOT AGAIN"
YES I will have a new email soon.

Yahoo has gotten me for the LAST time. Twice in 2 weeks! they

have got me!

Today, this is the LAST straw! I logged in today and suddenly

in some oblivious little window I start getting yahoo messenger

messages from my OLD YM account that I don't use anymore. I hear

the "blips" but I don't see any YM page! I didn't log into YM.

It's freaking me out! I try logging into Yahoo messenger the

traditional way, I log out. I am fracking offline to YM, but

still I hear these blips!!! AND EVERYONE SEES ME AS "AVAILABLE"

NOT INVISIBLE! NO PRIVACY! x-girlfriends, spammers, etc! so I

start closing stuff and minimizing windows and there in the

corner under a bunch of stuff is this miniature YM window where

my gf is sending me messages asking "Why are you logged into your

OLD YM account?" Who are you chatting with? Why won't you talk

to me?... All this fracking BS for yahoo?? (see below for

further rant) I am done with their BS that is too much BS in one

week! I can't believe this is not the talk of the internet! Did

I mention, there is no way to turn it off permanently????

But wait, there's more!!...

All this After Last weeks debacle!?? They SECRETLY saved some

cookie to my PC that made ME, not everyone, just a select few

thousand, change their homepage to "m.yahoo.com". You can't

change the **** thing. Suddenly you are going to some other

homepage! Its a browser Hijack! But its by Damn Yahoo!
I updated my hosts file to not recognize m.yahoo for Fear of

compromising my security. Then I had to start using other search

services cause MY browser wouldn't recognize plain vanilla

yahoo.com
I really hated using the Dogpile search engine, I still

refused to use google and already had it 127'd in my hosts file,

did the same with M.yahoo.
After days of this frustration I finally did a search to see

if anyone else is having the same problem and Viola! they are!

complaints galore! which yahoo just ignores. Seems the

M.yahoo.com is triggered by a coookie YAHOO SECRETLY PUTS ON YOUR

PC which directs YOU and select others to some fracking BETA

HomePage without your permission!!
Posted by krylosY (13 comments )
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