02/12/2007 08:33 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Yahoo To Launch Intra-Email Chat Feature, Wants To Know What You Mean By "Toast"

Yahoo announced today that it's coming out with an IM program embedded in its regular email, an innovation that means users will no longer have to toggle out of one program and into another should they wish to use both simultaneously (which, as any inveterate web-addict knows, is rough on the wrists). It's an innovation, note, that was pioneered by Gmail in their Gchat program, which ETP considers the most user-friendly IM program out there (privacy issues notwithstanding). Why is it so great? Because it's easy - providing a quick way to swap information and make contact while permitting easy and continuous access to email (ETP can attest to both the professional and recreational utility of same). It is the ADD-afflicted multitasker's dream (and, as we recently demonstrated, those taglines can be all sorts of fun. So, it's a smart move for Yahoo to rip it off &mdash particularly since it is in serious need of pumping up its utility to users, and hence numbers. Yahoo also recently made the smart move of re-jiggering their (previously frustratingly inefficient) email program along the lines of Outlook, allowing for quickie categorization, sorting and searching. One drawback, however: It staggers under the load of many messages, making it near-impossible to re-sort for those of us who have long abandoned our Yahoo accounts and long despaired of ever cleaning them out. The new interface would be ideal for the quickie cleanup, if only it didn't take forever to load. This is, of course, not a consideration for all users but there are enough email packrats out there to make issues of storage a live one (Gmail, too, led the charge on that point).

In other news, MTV clips will soon be embeddable, no doubt in a move to cash in some of that sweet YouTube action. Here's the thing about Gchat (read: Google) and YouTube (read: Google) — they're both way out front on both these points, and continuing to innovate while their competitors play catch up. We say "their" but of course it's "its" — the All-Powerful Monolithic Globe-Straddling Power that is Google.

p.s. We don't know what "toast" means but our instant association was "waffles!" That's based on that old kid's joke where you try to trick someone who's been asked "what do you put in a toaster?" into saying "toast" when it's actually "bread." That totally doesn't work on people who really like waffles.