Can we finally put to rest the multiheaded IM clients that require me to log into 5 different services? Â My former colleagues at AOL finally turned on federation with Google after 4 years of Google running an AIM multiheaded server in their data center.
The Old AIM GTalk Multihead Logo
Turning off the multihead unwinds one of the most over engineered solutions in the history of messaging. Â When AOL and Google did the original deal around messaging in 2006, we were not ready to do federation, so we proposed a multihead. Â At the time the negotiations started Google only had a desktop client, but soon after we started talking Google unleashed something called Caribou on us. Â Caribou was the code name of Gtalk in GMail, and needless to say it threw a wrench into our plans. Â In the end Google wrote a server side multiheaded experience using a client side library that had to handle 1000s of threads. Â It was a miracle it worked, and a lot of great engineers made it happen. Â Thank goodness we can turn it off now.
With federation comes the hope that we can break down the walls of the IM networks that have existed for 12+ years. Â For users they get the ability to talk to their friends regardless of networks and use the application they like best. Â For the networks, federation means an application battle royale. Â Personally, I will use GTalk when I am at my laptop at work since we use Google Apps here at Clearspring. Â For my iPhone and iPad I use AIM because Google’s mobile experience on iOS is lacking.
Let’s hope that the other networks can figure out how to federate with each other and we can all stop using clunky multiheaded IM applications.
On Tuesday we posted the latest AIM for Mac client, Beta3, on our beta website.Â AIM for Mac was first released a month ago, and in that time we have made a bunch of changes.Â The application is built on top of the Open AIM Cocoa framework that is available as part of the Open AIM Mac SDK.Â Here are some highlighted changes in Beta 3:
- Redesigned Buddy List header area and added Quick Status and Away toggle
- Find Buddy search box is now toggled using the magnifying glass icon
- Will now auto-format phone numbers so users can send IMs to SMS text message capable phones**
- Fixed issue for Tiger users to correctly display status messages on the Buddy List
- Preference window will now remember size/screen position
- Fixed auto-accept file transfer preferences when user closes and reopens application
You can download AIM for Mac Beta 3 here.
As always we appreciate feedback on how this client is coming along.
** – I find it interesting that Google Talk launched IM to SMS as a very very burried feature in GTalk today.Â It will be 5 years on December 17th this year that we released IM to SMS for AIM.Â I along with our mobile team in Seattle and our AIM Host team in Dulles brought this great feature to the client oh so many years ago.
There are lots of posts all over the internet today about the availability of AIM now on GMail’s GTalk client.
The integration was built on top of the Open AIM SDK Library. When you open up GMail you will be able to sign into your AIM Account by clicking on Settings|Chat. Your AIM buddies will appear on the contact list in most frequent order and you can hover over and get basic buddy info.