(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Instant Messaging Taking On More Importance

from the it's-everywhere dept

For all the talk of a battle over search and web-based email, not as many people have been paying attention to the growing battle over instant messaging services. Many people spend a lot of time each day in their IM programs - sometimes even more than their browser. Realizing this, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL are all working to more closely integrate other aspects of their service into instant messaging. I'm still surprised that none of them have more actively turned their instant messaging program into a Friendster-like social networking service - since it seems like a much more natural fit than having to go into a website and list all your friends. With most IM services, you already have your list of friends and there's an actual practical use to it beyond surfing through friends of friends. The article also mentions (as we have before) the idea that Google should offer their own instant messaging client. Of course, the article brushes over the issue of interoperability, claiming that people haven't really been asking for it. That's not true. I've been asking for it for years, and know plenty of others who have as well. While the various services believe they need to stay as separate islands for the purposes of "lock-in," they're simply driving people away. I wouldn't need to use products like Trillian if Yahoo or AIM worked with each other. Just like text messaging on phones and email systems over a decade ago - once people decided to let them communicate across boundaries, they found that everyone did a lot more with them. It doesn't take people away, it makes them use the services more.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2004 @ 10:02am


    Nail on the head Mike. Google need to toss jabber into its Orkut. It's got the servers, and it's got (some of our) info already. It could really branch out for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jeff, Apr 27th, 2004 @ 11:46am

    Re: Orkut

    I don't know why it's so much to ask that AOL, MS, Yahoo, etc all switch to some sort of open-standards communication protocol. How great would it be to export your contacts into XML and import them into another IM client, or into your PDA, cell phone, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    thecaptain, Apr 27th, 2004 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Orkut

    or even better...just stick to the app you are comfortable with and be able to contact everyone across the board! :)

    Like email I guess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    AMetamorphosis, Apr 27th, 2004 @ 12:41pm


    But Trillian DOES work with a flawed system.

    Waiting for legislation to catch up with the technology is useless and it makes better sense to use the easiest solution to an ongoing problem. I've used Trillian for 2+ years and its money well spent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 27th, 2004 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Trillian

    The problem with Trillian though is that these companies occassionally block service - which isn't really feasible. Plus, it doesn't take advantage of specific features added to IM programs. Thus, you're creating a world of incompatible technologies. A bridge solution just doesn't cut it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2004 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Trillian

    Get Trillian Pro Mike. It has alot of the special features and more.

    ie. renamign of contacts, tabbed windows [which aim doesn't even have].

    Webcam for yahoo, plugins for other stuff, etc, its there.

    Not everythign, but a good deal of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    xman, Apr 28th, 2004 @ 4:40am


    Microsfot *are* working on just such a social networking system. I can't remember the name offhand but it is definitely in the works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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