With the latest version of its web-based mail service, Yahoo is taking aim at Google with a variety of novel features that make the service faster, more flexible and more versatile than before. Now out of beta testing, Yahoo Mail boasts some unique new features, but the most novel of them won't be available in the UK just yet.

Arguably the most notable feature of the revamped mail service is its integrated text messaging and instant messaging. It enables users in the US, Canada, India and the Philippines to send messages directly to mobile phones, in addition to the usual IM clients and e-mail addresses. The company didn't say when it might bring this feature to its customers in the UK and Europe.

The integrated webmail/IM client also sends messages to Windows Live Messenger, expanding communication options to all users.

In addition to integrated IM and text messaging, the new Yahoo Mail includes speed and performance improvements and advanced search options that let users more easily sort messages. That's as well as customisable colour themes, and - in the US only - a shortcut system that lets users right-click on certain words within a message to add calendar entries and contacts, or view maps of addresses.