Yahoo Inc. is testing an upgrade of its instant messenger service, boosting the ability to make free voice calls between computers, the company said Wednesday.
The new voice upgrade is an improved and more integrated version of its existing voice chatting features that now lets two users logged onto Yahoo's PC messenger service speak at the same time and leave voice mail messages.
The upgrade ramps up competition in a three-way fight among Microsoft and Time Warner Inc.'s America Online, each elbowing for dominance of communications on PCs and wireless devices.
Yahoo's instant messenger service is the No. 2 provider worldwide.
The revamped service also improves the ability to share photos and add entries into personal Web logs. Yahoo said it will include better junk mail filters as well.
The service will be available in 18 localized versions in several countries, including the United States, China, France, India and Italy, Yahoo said in a statement.