I just dont get this article on Mashable about why IM conglomeration is a waste of time – there hasn’t been much innovation in IM clients for ages – just the bare minimum. Today, the only reason for me to use anything other than WLM is to talk to people on other networks – equally its a big barrier for me to change client as most of my major contacts are not there. Imagine if i could talk to any network using a single client.. suddenly it’s all about how good the client is, not about how many people are using it. Now that’s competition and there is nothing like that to encourage innovation.
So where is the business sense to partner? Well you could argue that a stagnant business is one that will fail eventually – hence the minor improvements but nothing too risky in case they blow it – interoperability doesnt mean everyone will leave unless your product is bad and if it is well you lose anyway. In Microsoft’s case, when it partnered with Yahoo, it solved a couple of issues. It allowed it to shout about how open it was and also mitigated a threat from Google Talk. Now everyone else must follow suit or lose audience.
Hence the Google/AOL deal and now the Google/Yahoo deal. The question now is will Microsoft and Google sort something out?
So you can now add your facebook friends to your windows live (or MSN) messenger account. (You can also add your msn messenger friends to facebook). I gave it a quick test and sure enough it pulled all my contacts out of Facebook and offered me the option of adding htem to my messenger account.
It did not differentiate between those that already have a Messenger account; those that I am already connected to and everyone else.
Basically I have to spam all my friends asking them to sign up for Live Messenger, surely Microsoft can check who has a valid account or not? I am ignoring the fact my friends could be using Yahoo Messenger (whom I can also connect to using Live Messenger) – as I assume Yahoo will not let Microsoft check for a valid account.
Another major issue, is that it also only pulls in my main email address from Facebook – not my Live messenger account which I have filled out in my profile so anyone using this would connect to me using the wrong account anyway.
I can thank del.icio.us for finding this..
its called meebo and its a web client for AIM/ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, GoogleTalk (or Jabber) – ie all the clients I would ever want to use 🙂 ok except maybe skype, though I have always hated their instant messaging.. and well what with their api requiring skype to be running in the background its possibly not feasibe right now. It seems to have just started, their site calls it an alpha so be warned. It is quick and easy to access wherever you are, and if they can get more than just the basics working this project could have a great future, why haven’t the major messenger players done this themselves??
[update: minor text changes and improved coherence – something that I guess was impossible yesterday..]