Yahoo Messenger users can now use the IM service inside a web browser as well as via the downloaded program. The move brings Yahoo in line with Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger program. The latter is the world's most popular instant messaging client and has long had its own browser-based service.

It means that people who are unable to install the full instant messaging client on their computers will still be able to log in and message their friends. This will particularly benefit you if you use Yahoo Messenger at home but are unable to install it on your work PC.

The new service works in such a way that the messaging code can be embedded in any web page. Once Yahoo enables it, this could allow you to embed the browser client in your own websites and social networking pages.

So for instance, if you have a MySpace account, you might be able to embed Yahoo Messenger into your page so that visitors could send messages to you wherever you are logged in.

UK launch expected soon

Unfortunately for UK users, Yahoo is not enabling the web messaging service in the UK as of yet. It's initially only available in the US as well as Brazil, India, the Philippines and Malaysia.

But Yahoo is promising a UK roll-out at some point in 2007, presumably once the limited launch has been used to prove the stability of the service.