Looks like those free lunches are already starting to pay off. Yahoo has moved its popular email service forward with the addition of a calendar tab and made it possible to reply to calendar invites inside mail, the company announced today in a blog post.

Under new CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo hopes to shake off the dust it has accumulated over the years, and it very well could take on a product-focused direction with bigger and better applications. Since email is one of Yahoo’s most popular products, it makes sense that Yahoo wants to make it work better. The company needs to keep people from fleeing to rival services like Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s new service.

Funny enough, the new integration of Calendar and Mail actually one-ups Google because you can access the Calendar without opening a new tab like you have to in Gmail. Yahoo Senior Product Manager Ashish Parnami, writes:

Currently, users access the Calendar by clicking on the Calendar link under the “Applications” section in the left panel. The Calendar would then open in a new browser window/tab. To simplify the process (who wants more tabs open on their browser!?), we’re now making Calendar a permanent tab within Yahoo! Mail. So, as soon as you login to your Yahoo! Mail account, you will see a ‘Calendar’ tab right next to the ‘Contacts’ tab. This tab will remain there even as you navigate around to other tabs within Yahoo! Mail.

Not only is Calendar now accessible without opening a new tab, but users can search for events inside the “Calendar” tab. Additionally, when you receive a calendar invite from someone, you can respond with “Attending/Not Attending/Maybe,” add comments, or add it directly to your Calendar.

It’s a relatively small step, but it’s still a good sign for the company that’s been beaten down so much. We can’t wait to see what else Mayer does in the next year.