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News Editor

Google’s latest IM gambit

Feb 07, 20062 mins
Enterprise Applications

It was a memorable moment in an otherwise forgettable Instant Messaging Planet conference two years ago in Boston. Memorable because derisive laughter isn’t typically the reaction afforded expert speakers at events of this type by IT professionals who take time to attend. Yet cackling this crowd was at the suggestion IM vendors were burning the midnight oil in an attempt to finally get their stinking products to play nice with one another.

“We’re all working very, very hard to solve this problem,” said a vice president of products at IMlogic, at the end of one conference session.

It’s got to sting to be laughed at in public.

Again that was two years ago. The moment popped up from my memory bank this morning when I read about Google’s announcement that it would be melding its instant-messaging service with Gmail.  A natural enough move … and certainly in line with Google’s plan for world domination.

But even mighty Google can’t overcome the mother of all IM obstacles.

As this New York Times story noted: “Gmail Chat will be able to send and receive instant messages from a small set of competitive programs, including Jabber and EarthLink, but none of the larger ones like AOL, Yahoo or MSN. The more popular instant-messaging programs do not interact, and interoperability remains the holy grail of instant messaging.”

Rest assured that all the IM players are working very, very hard to solve this problem. I mean who wouldn’t want to welcome the likes of Google to their party?

Do I hear laughter out there?

News Editor

In addition to my editing duties, I have written Buzzblog since January, 2006 and wrote the 'Net Buzz column in Network World's dearly departed print edition for 13 years. Feel free to e-mail me at