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Yahoo Adds IM, Texting to Mail App

Yahoo rolled out a new version of its Web mail application today, allowing users to send free text messages from Yahoo Mail to mobile phone numbers in the U.S., Canada, India and the Philippines.

Users can also now send instant messages from Yahoo Mail to members of the Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger communities. Other upgraded capabilities include tabbed navigation, a reading pane, an integrated calendar and an RSS reader.

The new app is available in six colors.

In a statement, Yahoo also said it included "speed and performance enhancements," such as new search refinements, that allow users to refine their e-mail search results using advanced search options. These include the ability to narrow results by sender, folder, date, attachment type and message status to pinpoint specific queries.

For U.S. users, Yahoo added new series of shortcuts.

Users are now able to right click on underlined dates, names and keywords within messages and take additional action, such as adding events directly to their Yahoo Calendars, adding friends to their Contacts, immediately viewing a Yahoo Map of an address, or performing a Web search on a keyword.

Today's announcement follows nearly a year of beta testing for the new Yahoo Mail. In September 2006, Yahoo began trying out a new version of their Mail app, which featured an AJAX interface.

That rollout followed the 2004 launch of Google's mail application, Gmail. Though Gmail has yet to reach the popularity of Yahoo Mail, its sleek, easy-to-use AJAX interface came first, contributing to Google's brand image as an innovative tech leader.

Yahoo said a co-branded version of the new Yahoo Mail will also be available in the fall to customers using Internet service providers AT&T Yahoo High Speed Internet, Verizon Yahoo and Rogers Yahoo Hi-Speed Internet. The new app will be available this fall to Yahoo Small Business Mail users, as well.