Ethan Diamond, director of product management for Yahoo Mail, demonstrated some cool new features that integrate instant messaging chat into mail client. Users can see if contacts are logged on to Yahoo Mail and initiate a chat, and then have the contents of the chat automatically inserted in an email, or email contents inserted a chat with the Mail application. It can also show everybody in an address book who on line and and available to chat. Yahoo has about half a billion people who use its communications products, Diamond said.
The embedded chat will be available in a few months to Yahoo's 250 million mail users, said Brad Garlinghouse, vice president of communications, communities and front doors at Yahoo.
Prior to the demo, Garlinghouse went on about consumers acting on emotions, the Machine Internet versus the Social Internet, and how Yahoo has a strong role to play in making new kinds of user experiences that will appeal to mass audiences. He suggested that Web 2.0 is moving from being a geek-driven experience to a consumer-driven experience. "Technically, tactically and emotionally users yearn for something better," Garlinghouse said. "We demonstrated tight integration and breaking down the silos of email and instant messaging so a mass audience and making it more social change."
I'll buy that--the presence awareness and flipping back and forth between email and chat/IM improves the user experience, makes it more accessible.
Then, Garlinghouse went overboard, beyond the yearning of users for something better, proclaiming, "We are changing the way the Earth communicates." I guess if 250 million users can chat within Yahoo Mail, it is a change, but not exactly on a planetary or profoundly transformative scale.