Instant Messaging

see WebIM for WebApp variety

Text Messaging, typically between 2 parties, over the Internet (vs SMS)

see also Group Messaging


Messaging Security

old (c2002) notes

The most widely used Instant Messaging software is AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). Microsoft's package is gaining steam. AOL's ICQ is #3, I believe.

Jabber is a pretty cool Open Source project for IM, but has various problems which, I think, stand in the way of its widespread adoption for now.

But it is stupid that we still have non-interoperating IM systems. It's like the pre-Internet-integration day of online service islands, where you couldn't send EMail between services. Hopefully consumers will start to vote with their attention (I'm not going to use your app/service if I can't talk to my buddy).

I think the IETF should think of the closed IM systems as though they are pre-internet corporate email systems and online services (remember when you couldn't email from Compu Serve to an AOL user?!?). Then design an IM gateway protocol that is open (equivalent to SMTP/POP). And leave it up to the closed vendors to figure out how to interoperate. Without a reasonable set of interop rules, it's hard to put public pressure on the closed systems.

Jabber is trying to talk AOL into partnering with them on interop .

The maybe-more-constructive question is: why were closed online services eventually willing to put in place EMail gateways, yet are unwilling to do so now for IM?

  • the new managers are bigger assholes than the old ones

  • they need the revenue from the ads in the client app

  • they need to maintain the "user lock-in" story for Wall Street.

  • ????

Hmm, let's rephrase again... if we assume that there's some logic to the current non-interop behavior, then why did they implement EMail interop?

  • Peter Kaminski may have a good theory: when EMail became a significant interface between people and the whole/outside/business world, instead of just an "online community" channel, they needed/demanded universal interop.

  • Edward Vielmetti notes:

    • For e-mail the problem of building a gateway was a technical one, not necessarily a political one. A few guys at Ohio State built the Compuserve to Internet gateway and ran it from the CIS department there until it became clear that Compuserve should take it in-house. Customer demand came only after the service was already up and running. (What about AOL?)

    • For IM the bigger problem is a standard interface to directories and Presence Detection servers (telling you who is online), not just details of how to get a particular message from here to there.

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