Google and Yahoo to partner on IM

IM market could benefit from a little more interoperability

Most of the attention to the recent Google/Yahoo partnership has focused on the two companies' search advertising plans, but the deal has implications for instant messaging, too. "In addition," reads the companies' press release, "Yahoo and Google agreed to enable interoperability between their respective instant messaging services, bringing easier and broader communication to users."

So far, exactly what that means is anyone's guess. But the IM market could certainly benefit from a little more interoperability. Despite the fact that IM use is on the rise among home users and businesses alike, each separate IM network remains a walled garden, independent of all the others. Getting them to work together -- similar to how e-mail works -- would benefit everyone.

There are a number of IM clients available that can connect to multiple networks at the same time, including Adium, Pidgin, and Trillian. But these clients still require you to have your own account on each network in order to talk to other people on that network. What would be better would be the ability to talk to anyone on any network from a single account.

For its part, Google has already demonstrated an interest in IM interoperability. Its own Google Talk IM network is built on an open, standards-based IM protocol called XMPP, which in theory allows communication between IM servers, although that feature hasn't been used so far. Connecting the Google Talk servers with Yahoo's own messaging servers would be a great first step.

Unfortunately, in light of all the other talk surrounding Google and Yahoo's partnership, few details have emerged to explain exactly what form the proposed IM interoperability might take. In other words, we'll have to wait and see. But any way you slice it, this is encouraging news for the increasingly commoditized IM market.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Neil McAllister

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?