Friday, December 28, 2007

Future Live Messenger talks to everybody

Great news, everybody!

Rumor has it that Microsoft is planning to make the upcoming Live Messenger 9 able to communicate with Google Talk, AIM, and ICQ. Basically all the mainstream IM networks. I'm still not sure how reliable this rumor is, though, so stay tuned.

There are various ways for IM networks to inter-operate. For example, Live Messenger 8 users can already chat with Yahoo! Messenger due to an agreement made by both Microsoft and Yahoo! to allow their IM clients to interface with each other's proprietary protocols. In the case of Google and AOL, Google merely allowed Gmail users to login to their AIM accounts right in the Gmail interface, effectively turning Gmail into both a Jabber client ( i.e. Google Talk) and an AIM client. Both are examples of two IM companies partnering with each other to create inter-operable clients.

Both Google Talk and AIM have open protocols (though AIM's is a dumbed-down version of its proprietary OSCAR) so the Microsofties' job can't be too hard. This usage of other companies' open protocols to give your product an advantage over those very same companies does make one wonder, though: if Microsoft isn't the evil company many geeks see them as, why don't they take this interoperability thing one step further by opening up the Live Messenger protocol to everyone? Eh, will they? No? Didn't think so.

Late Update: AOL Instant Messenger now supports Jabber/XMPP as well!