Web-based e-mail users will soon be sending text messages to mobile phones. Yahoo! has already announced the feature for Yahoo! Mail users.

Ms. Davis noted that when Yahoo! upped the storage capacity of its free Web-based e-mail, Google followed suit within the week.

"The move also serves as a clever way to give users incentives to continue using e-mail, when many teens and young adults are increasingly turning to text messaging or IM in lieu of e-mail," Ms. Davis wrote.

An Associated PressAOL study conducted with Knowledge Networks in late 2006 confirmed that instant messaging trumped e-mail for most teens.

Whether US Adult and Teen Instant Messaging Users Send More Instant vs. E-Mail Messages, November-December 2006 (% of respondents)

The e-mail to text link is important for marketers who target teens.

Teens preferred e-mail 3-to-1 over texting for exchanging information, according to a Harris Interactive survey conducted in December 2006.

Communication Technologies Used Most Frequently by US Teens to Stay in Touch with People, December 2006 (% of respondents)

Now, e-mail will be connected to text, making texts a PC-to-mobile activity as well as mobile-to-mobile.

Despite a preference for e-mail over texting, teens use a variety of tools to communicate. Making it easy to send texts through e-mail from any Internet connection increases the chances of getting through to them. Typing on a keyboard is easier than on a mobile keypad, so the change may also convert some former texting holdouts.

Moreover, viral text campaigns may now be spread through the Web. Since mobile phones are personal, it is very easy to annoy users with unwanted or irrelevant offers. A text forwarded from a friend, perhaps straight from an e-mail account, stands a better chance of getting opened.

Via eMarketer