Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Google Talk + AIM = Now!

It's been almost two whole years (and a new job and hometown) since I first blogged about Google Talk and AIM getting together, but today, it's ready to go! Starting this morning, we're rolling out AIM support to all Gmail accounts. You'll be able to link your AIM name to your Gmail account, and contact any of your AIM buddies directly from the Talk client inside Gmail.

As a longtime resident of the AIM universe, I never thought that I would give up my favorite AIM Lite for a web client. But the AIM integration in Gmail is that good. It's fast, easy to set up and use, and works on any computer. Best of all, it saves your IM sessions in Gmail, which makes it easy to remember a conversation from months ago. Bottom line: if you use Gmail and use AIM, you'll probably really enjoy the combined experience.

Some answers on what are likely to be FAQs:
  • By default, your AIM buddies are displayed in the "most popular" order typically used in Gmail and Google Talk. To view them in alphabetical order (and enable the scrollbar), click on "Options" at the bottom of the contact list on the left side and choose "Top 250".
  • You can also adjust the size of your contact list by clicking on "Options" and selecting between "Tiny", "Small", "Medium", and "Large".
  • AIM users that are away or idle show up as yellow dots. The away message, if present, is displayed in the contact list.
  • Your Gmail status message carries over to AIM, and vice versa.
  • You can see AIM users' buddy icons, but setting your Gmail user avatar does not currently affect your own AIM icon.
  • If you log into Gmail using HTTPS (as I mentioned here), your AIM session will be secured as well.
  • This integration is not XMPP Federation. This was a contractual limitation. On the plus side, this means Gmail users don't need to manually add all their AIM friends to their Gmail contact list.
  • The AIM implementation was developed on top of the Open AIM libraries. (It's a little weird knowing that the code my team wrote at AOL is now running in Google datacenters.)
Like it? Hate it? Favorite feature missing? Wish something was a little bit different? Send me a note, or drop a comment in the Gmail suggestion box.

18 comments:

MG Siegler said...

Love it Justin - great job, but how about groups or at least the ability to manually reorder your buddy list? For some of us with a lot of AIM buddies, a lot of scrolling is involved.

P said...

Was it the secret thing you were talking about last week , or is that something else ?

David said...

“This was a contractual limitation.”

Does this mean there’s no chance of XMPP Federation any more? What about AOL supposedly working on an XMPP gateway?

MarkV said...

can't believe it doesn't work with the GT client!!!!

HÃ¥vard said...

It was disappointing to discover that gmail has just become a multi-im-client and no real bridge between AIM and XMPP happened (not even AIM->XMPP limited to @gmail.com users). Guess AIM wants to keep their users in their silo.

Rocky said...

Justin,

Great job. I like the integration overall.

I wrote about a couple of issues I ran into on my blog.

They relate to displaying mobile presence (it's flaky) and how the conversation is indexed. It should be searchable by alias, not just screenname.

Feature request: ability to collapse people with a Gmail and AIM identity.

tuftsmania said...

sad to see that aim contacts are not truly integrated.


example: user on google chat sending message to user on AIM.

Luk�? 'Spike' Pol�kva said...

What a disappointment that AOL is not federated with XMPP/Jabber.

I'd be happy to chat with AIM/ICQ users, but I don't want to register separate AIM/ICQ account… :/

Jeff said...

I would like to see this work with the Google talk client.

Greets from Italy said...

I like GTalk as it's low in memory and resource footprint. And doesn't need a lot of space on desktop area.

Not to mention added features like file transfer, VoIP and email notifier...

But....
Why hadn't been updated since don't know how much time?
Can I hope to see an updated GTalk executable?

Even if there's a new version integrated with GrandCentral... wouldn't be nice to give at least some small updates to GTalk to add at least some few more features already avaible in GMail and/or within the flash version?

ok, after this ranting....

Juberti, great job and AIM integration is a good step forwartd even if isn't done with syndacation. But I can understand there are legal issues with that.

Anonymous said...

I love it...BUT...I use the Google Talk Gadget as I can't open my Gmail account from work. Will I also be able to see my AIM buddies using the Google talk Gadget?

Anonymous said...

So like 10 years from now we should see this added to google talk?

Steve F. said...

"This integration is not XMPP Federation. This was a contractual limitation."

That is very disappointing. Regardless of how well produced the GMail/AIM UI is (and I'm sure you did good) it is just another multi-headed IM app (though with fewer 'heads' than other multi-headed apps - Trillian, Meebo, etc).

This is a real blow for those of us who were looking to Google to change the "walled garden" IM model. It looks like Google have done exactly the opposite and reinforced the status quo.

A great shame.

Moroniccow said...

Love it (the article) but whats up with it not being integrated with the google talk CLIENT itself? Come on! Yeah its cool to open up gmail and have your aim contacts right there, but i really don't want to keep a tab open with that just so i can message that. I was looking for this to replace my current aim client cause its annoying. I <3 google talk as a client, but I'm keeping my aim client on my computer till google decides to roll out full support of aim on the client itself. Makes really no sense why they wouldn't do it. I hope its only a matter of time. I was so excited too, but I'm a google fanboy, so i cant get too mad...i gues...

Anonymous said...

no, really - I installed google talk when heared about AIM support by google and found no AIM contacts in Google Talk. Thought it's a joke, but after reading other comments understood it's not... Phew.. What a shame.

Suzanne said...

I love being able to connect to my AIM contacts through gmail. The integration for saved chats is awsome. However, it would be nice to see some ability to edit fonts etc.

Xplaced said...

I don't really care for the AIM chat in Gmail. All I really want is AIM chat through Google Talk. GTalk does everything I need, but no one uses it but me (all my friends are on AIM of course). I really want to see AIM and GTalk work together so I can chat to an AIM using buddy via the GTalk client. That would be big news. Why they aren't doing this already I really don't understand.

compifreak11 said...

it works fine with icq as well just take the icq number instead of the aim login name