Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) yesterday announced that it has added an anti-spyware feature to its downloadable toolbar, upping the ante in the ongoing race among Internet companies to pack ever more features into such browser plug-ins.

Toolbars, which are downloaded by users and become embedded in Web browsers, are an effective means of keeping users loyal to particular search services. And, of course, loyal users help companies sell search-related advertising. Google, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) MSN, and Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) AOL all offer toolbars, which can launch searches and block pop-up ads, among a host of other things. Yahoo!'s new anti-spyware feature should help distinguish it from the pack, although its rivals are no doubt working on similar features. Spyware can be a major annoyance to computer users, who sometimes are unaware that they have even installed such programs.

Certainly the addition of this new feature won't be enough to ensure Yahoo!'s top position among Internet companies. But this initiative typifies the innovation the company continues to display. Yahoo! seems to be moving on so many fronts, and all of its maneuvers seem smart. Among its recent initiatives are a team up with British Telecom to offer VoIP through Yahoo! instant messaging, a push into European online comparison shopping, and a pumping up of its email service to counter rival Google.

While the long-term threat from Google can't be ignored, it's hard to imagine Yahoo! losing its top-dog position anytime soon. The company does have its downsides, especially with respect to its continued rejection of options expensing. But if Yahoo! can stay nimble, it should be a leader for years to come.

Are you excited about this addition to Yahoo!'s toolbar? Will you switch from another toolbar to Yahoo!'s now? Give your thoughts on the Yahoo! discussion board.

Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer living in Chicago, Ill. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned here.