Yahoo Brings Facebook Closer To The Inbox

Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) announced in December that it would integrate Facebook Connect across its properties worldwide — and that relationship is beginning to show up in Yahoo Mail. Starting later this afternoon, Yahoo Mail users will be able to update their Facebook status from their inboxes and also see their friends’ Facebook profile photos in their inboxes, the company tells us. This comes several weeks after Yahoo made it easy for Yahoo Mail users to add Facebook friends’ e-mail addresses to their e-mail contacts.

Nothing incredibly groundbreaking here — but the changes add to a slate of “social” features Yahoo has been introducing to Yahoo Mail since it bought social e-mail startup Xoopit in July, and they should help combat perceptions that Yahoo Mail is lagging Gmail when it comes to innovation.

It’s also a reminder of the increasing overlap between social networking sites and e-mail as communications tools. No wonder MySpace (NYSE: NWS) has added a webmail service and Facebook is rumored to be on the verge of doing the same.