Yahoo said on Tuesday it is adding media-playing features, large file transfers, new languages and other tools to its instant messaging service.
The move comes as a growing number of rivals -- from incumbents like AOL to social network sites like MySpace -- boost their positions in the market for instant messaging services.
Yahoo Messenger 9.0 launched as a BETA version and has added features similar to ones seen on social networks or media-sharing sites, including extra room to post a picture or other image next to contact names and the ability to share video or photos within a message screen.
The service is adding languages from six new markets, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Vietnam, for a total of 25 international markets.
In addition, the software adds Flickr integration in the photo sharing feature, allowing users to share photos from their Flickr.com account, or save photos directly to Flickr.
Users can also forward messages to their mobile phones when they are away from the computer.