A Web 2.0 Meme For IM

The Web 2.0 world has software-as-a-service, application programming
interfaces (APIs), Webmail and content-sharing to help forge our online
experiences.

So why is Instant Messaging still a client marooned on computers and
devices? Sure, there are Web-based versions of your favorite IM software,
but nothing like what startup company meebo offers.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based meebo recently extended its instant messaging
communications platform with widgets that help Web sites add IM to any Web
page.

The code also helps sites know who’s visiting.

Company executives told internetnews.com the meebo me widget
easily integrates the meebo instant messaging platform into the hottest
places on the Web these days: social networking sites, blogs and commerce
sites, to name a few.

As for why more people aren’t demanding Web—based IM, the company thinks
users just haven’t been trained to think of IM that way.

“It’s the same with
e-mail,” said Seth Sternberg, CEO and co-founder of meebo.

“The vast majority of people who use e-mail now do so with a Web-based
interface. So I think it’s only a matter of time” before they get used to
Web-based IM.”

Sternberg said as everything moves to the Web — commerce, productivity
tools and, of course, community — it’s all done with a browser.

“Meebo is
doing the same for IM.”

If you want to put it on your Web page, you just go get the embedded
code, grab yourself a widget and then spit out the code on your site.

Given
the runaway popularity of MySpace.com, the company thinks it may have a
winning idea for the popular social networking site.

As for security
concerns, such as whether younger MySpace.com users may be subjected to
inappropriate contact from potential predators, Sternberg says the meebo
interface only shows the person’s handle, and no other personal information.

Sternberg and other meebo executives aren’t expecting a cascade of users
to defect from their AOL, MSN or Yahoo IM clients — or even for Google Talk
users to stampede over to a meebo way of life online.

But they think that
as more people try it out, they’ll be slapping it on their sites, especially
bloggers and e-commerce sites that are looking for improved ways to hold
conversations with their readers and/or customers.

These guys claim they got there first on offering this kind of “portable”
IM service. The company said it counts more than
660,000 daily logins and sends 43 million messages daily among its user base.

Another feature the company thinks will intrigue users is a chat log
that helps users separate home-based IM lots from work-related ones.

So if somebody happened to IM you a phone number, you’re able to access it
if you’re not back on the same computer you used.

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