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December 4, 2007

Chat with Your AIM Buddies in Gmail


Another day, another new Gmail feature. As previously posted, Gmail will let you chat with your AIM contacts. AIM is the most popular instant messaging client in the US, with more than 53 million US users last year. The feature is currently rolled out to Gmail 2.0 accounts and some people already have it.

Gmail Help clarifies that Google doesn't use anything extraordinary, only a public API. "AIM in Gmail is not a Google Talk and AIM federation; it's the ability to sign in to your AIM messaging account from Gmail. Gmail uses Open AIM to provide this feature." That's why you still need an AIM account and you'll have to periodically enter the credentials. "We ask for your password when you first sign in, and we forward it to AOL's OpenAuth service. Once AOL validates your log-in information, they send a token we can use to sign in to AIM on your behalf. We then promptly forget your password. The token is only valid when used by Google, can only be used to sign in to AIM, and expires after a while."


The feature seems to be available in Gmail, but not in Google Talk's gadget or desktop app, which makes it look like an improvisation. In 2005, Google and AOL agreed to enable "Google Talk and AIM instant messaging users to communicate with each other, provided certain conditions are met". Apparently, the conditions have not been met and the interoperability of IM networks is still a distant dream.

{ via Zorgloob }

Update: Justin Uberti, who stopped working on AIM to become a Googler, writes:
As a longtime resident of the AIM universe, I never thought that I would give up my favorite AIM Lite for a web client. But the AIM integration in Gmail is that good. It's fast, easy to set up and use, and works on any computer. Best of all, it saves your IM sessions in Gmail, which makes it easy to remember a conversation from months ago. Bottom line: if you use Gmail and use AIM, you'll probably really enjoy the combined experience.

27 comments:

  1. There's no Jabber transport or federation. I think the only notable Google success was convincing AOL to offer them a better license. Here's a quote from Open AIM's restrictive license:

    "You shall not use any Tool to, and your Application shall not, enable (a) direct communication (e.g., presence data, text, video, VoIP, file transfers, or data exchanges) between the AOL Services and any other instant messaging community or third party instant messaging services, or (b) an end user the ability to access any other instant messaging client and / or community (e.g., no multi-headed clients)."

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  2. Has google completely abandoned the desktop client? This is ridiculus, it hasn't been updated for a good while now.

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  3. "Millions of users chat on the Google Talk network every day, and chatting via Gmail chat is by far the most popular way." (Official Google Blog)

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  4. Here in the Netherlands nobody uses AIM...

    A couple of friends use Google Talk, but all other people i know use Live Messenger, no other IM's. I guess it will take a wile before Gtalk will adopt Live Messenger.

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  5. I stopped using my MSN transport via Gtalk a month ago because i sensed something's cooking up...and this is a good start. Something must be done to link IMs. Here in France, everyone uses Live Messenger...while gtalk is getting all that popular in the US, a lot must be done out here.

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  6. According to Google Trends, AIM is popular in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, France and Germany, but the popularity is declining.

    For Yahoo Messenger: Romania, Vietnam, Pakistan, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Peru, Australia.

    Windows Live Messenger: Morocco, Hungary, Portugal, Mexico, Venezuela, France, Columbia, Argentina, Turkey, Chile.

    Google Talk: India, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Brazil, Taiwan, Argentina, Chile, Turkey, Australia, Canada.

    And a comparative chart.

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  7. It's also interesting to notice that more people search for MSN Messenger (old name) than for Windows Live Messenger (new name).

    MSN Messenger is still popular in: Canada, France, Hungary, Australia, Belgium, UK, Chile, Turkey, Portugal, Mexico.

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  8. I can't see a reason why Google can't just go out on a limb (I think that's the phrase) and support the other IM networks. this would switch me *straight* to GMail Chat for my Windows Live Messenger (I currently use Meebo).

    And you can't say they have commercial reasons for this - Google is advocating open technologies of late - it's the prime candidate for this sort of thing.
    And if MS/Yahoo blocks their traffic/whatever it's called, then bad PR on them. Google++

    Come on, you know you want to...

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  9. http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/gmail-chat-aim-crazy-delicious.html

    "PS"

    More integration from other companies soon.

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  10. I am starting to regret paying for a Google Apps account. I get none of these new features that free accounts get. What's up with that?

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  11. It's nice that Gmail is getting new features, but the prefetching has GOT to be reigned in. The new version of Gmail is so unresponsive for dial-up users (like myself) that it's unbearable. I give it a try every other day or so, but end up switching back to the older version after a few minutes. It's ridiculous.

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  12. Okay, this is great, but the integration isn't smart.

    What I mean is that, even though there is a field in the contact manager for AIM name, if a buddy of mine is signed in to both services, I see him listed twice on my contact list.

    Until they let me pair down the list and group multiple accounts into a single "person", I can't see using this.

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  13. This is so cool, I look forward to not having to use the application anymore.

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  14. It is really ridiculous that Gtalk client is left behind. All the efforts go to iGoogle and Gmail chat integration.

    Ionut,
    AOL might be loosing strenght, but let me remind you that they own ICQ, which is still a very strong competitor to MSN.
    http://www.google.com/trends?q=icq&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

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  15. These network wars are ridiculous. It is absolutely unbelievable that in 2007 ALL networks are not interoperable.

    I hope this Gmail new feature will convince some AIM users to start using Jabber, which I think is only sensible solution.

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  16. I'd like to echo a previous sentiment: I really want the Google Talk application to be updated as well with some of the features we've seen updated in Gmail. I prefer to use the application so I don't have to always keep my email account open (I like some privacy) but want to continue chatting freely. Here's hoping that Google has not abandoned the actual application.

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  17. If you're an Opera user like me, many of the new features in Gmail aren't supported, such as signing into AIM. However, if you switch over to Firefox and sign in there, your AIM contacts will appear in Gmail in Opera!

    There is no options to view all buddies like in firefox, so you may have to open up a chat in firefox to get the ones you want to appear in opera. But it's a good work around for now.

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  18. FYI, because ICQ supports messaging to AIM, this can be used with an ICQ account as well. I just put my number into the account box and it worked great.

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  19. For some reason, Opera is not currently supported. The only browsers supported by Gmail 2 are: Firefox 2+, IE7+ and Safari 3+. IE6 should be supported soon.

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  20. Opera is not supported but it works fine with Gmail.

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  21. I currently use GOOGLE/Apps to manage my domain and chat with gmail, I am extremly sadden at the momment that google apps doesn't offer the aim services inside of the domain's gmail client as well, you would imagine they go hand and hand, but users are have committed early to googles development and upside...actually get the backburner...sucks..

    ADD AIM TO GOOGLE/APPS!

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  22. I'm with www.tivon.tv! Those of us who use Google for Your Domain seem to get the short end of the stick. We were last to get IMAP and this enhanced GMail 2.0 hasn't shown up. Aren't we more loyal than the average GMail user?

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  23. Indeed, please add this feature for those of us who are using gmail for our domains's e-mail needs.

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  24. if you have opera, log in with firefox and set up everything you want with aim, then when you go on with opera everything should work fine. Not the color coding though...

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  25. im really mad that this new feature doesn't work for google apps. I bought the account 3 days before they started to let you use aim through gmail.

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  26. There's a feature in the admin panel for Google Apps that lets you enable the new features from Gmail. The option should be called "Next generation" and it's available for the US English interface.

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