Google IM-ers Can Talk To AOL’s (Sort Of)

The whole point of instant messaging is to enable instant communication between parties. Google gets that message loud and clear with its move to enable Gmail chat users to chat with AOL’s AIM instant messaging users.

AIM users, however, may still have some issues to deal with if they want to talk to their friends on Google Talk since the relationship with Google is not entirely reciprocal.

“AOL and Google worked very closely to bring AIM’s integration within Gmail and this work is part of the broader partnership with Google that was announced almost two years ago,” AOL spokesperson Jaymelina Esmele told “The AIM/Gmail integration is based on the open APIs that we make available to third parties as part of our Open AIM program.”

Open AIM effort
kicked off in March of 2006 as a way to expand the use of AOL’s instant messaging network. The program includes SDK’s and APIs to build AIM compliant instant messaging clients.
Google has been an investor in AOL since 2005 when the search giant plunked down $1 billion for a 5 percent stake in AOL.

Esmele explained that the AIM integration in Gmail is pretty much like AIM integration with AOL’s Web Mail in that you’re logging onto AIM from within mail.

Google’s Mike Jazayeri, the Senior Product Manager for Google Talk, told that, from an engineering perspective, Google developers did work with AOL as well to get the integration working.

Jazayeri would not comment on which Google developers participated in the effort and specifically whether Google employee Sean Eng, who leads the open source Pidgin IM effort (formerly known as
GAIM), was involved. Pidgin is a multi-protocol open source IM client that provides access to AIM among other protocols, including the one that Google uses for its IM.

“The Google Talk service uses XMPP , also known as Jabber, so any IM service can integrate with it,” Jazayeri explained. “And there are hundreds that use XMPP federation to integrate with it today.”

AOL isn’t one of them though. So if you’re an AIM user and want to connect to a Google Talk user, it’s not going to happen.

“Our focus has been to integrate AIM into Gmail as well as into our own AOL web mail product,” AOL’s Esmele said. “And while it’s something we’re looking at, we don’t have anything to announce at this time regarding AIM to GTalk chat.”

Google’s IM capabilities have been available for just over two years at this point and so far so good according to Jazayeri

“We’re certainly very pleased with the reception we’ve had with Google Talk and we’re going to continue to add functionally,” Jazayeri said. Our strategy with Google Talk is to think about it as a real time communication platform that we integrate into many of our properties.”

News Around the Web