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Yahoo adds instant messaging

The Net search giant launches its Yahoo Pager service, as part of its overall strategy to be a portal site for Netizens.

Yahoo (YHOO) today announced the launch of its instant messaging system, called Yahoo Pager.

As reported last week, Yahoo is hoping to keep up with the competition by adding extra features to make its site more attractive as a portal onto the Internet.

One of Yahoo's prime competitors, America Online, has long had an Instant Messenger service, which is available to members of AOL's proprietary network as well as other Netizens. Netscape Communications, another competitor for eyeballs in the portal site battle, features a link to AOL's Instant Messenger service on its Netcenter page.

Paging services on the Net are growing in popularity, as demonstrated by messaging service ICQ, which executives say has 8 million subscribers.

Just last month, Microsoft acquired Boston-based start-up Flash Communications, which develops software for instant messaging networks and "buddy lists."

Yahoo has been regularly adding new features such as free email and customized news, aiming to draw traffic and keep it there.

The new paging service will allow anyone who downloads the Yahoo client to page and message each other as well as find out which friends are online at any given time.

The pager also notifies users when somebody else has added them as a friend. Yahoo cited privacy reasons for that move.