Sunday, December 25, 2005

Google Plans to Standardize Multimedia Instant Messaging

Earlier this week, Google shared its plans for the future unification of the instant messaging (IM) market. The benevolent overlord of modern Internet innovation, Google has become a tremendous stabilizing force within the complex ecosystem of web-based services. When Google released their Jabber-based IM application earlier this year, they promised consumers that they would vigorously pursue protocol interoperability in order to facilitate communication between users of different IM systems. Since the birth of text-based Internet chat in the 1980s, countless IM protocols and applications have emerged to meet the rapidly growing demand for interactive text communication. AOL's ubiquitous AIM service is thought to have over 50 million active users, a number that continues to increase as more consumers take up the habit.

Google chose to use Jabber's Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) for its own Google Talk application because XMPP is a well-documented open protocol fit for standardization and extension. The broad availability of XMPP support in open source communication applications ensures that users of all common platforms, including Linux and OS X, will be able to interact with Google Talk users. Working closely with the nonprofit Jabber Software Foundation (JSF), Google plans to bring voice and video communication services to all XMPP-compliant IM utilities. Described in a Jabber Enhancement Proposal, the new peer-to-peer voice and video standard is currently called Jingle. An open source implementation called Libjingle has already been released by Google under a BSD-style license. For those not in the know, BSD licenses are very permissive, facilitating commercial redistribution even in proprietary applications, which means that closed source IM applications like AOL's AIM client can take advantage of the code.

Google recently hired Sean Egan, one of the lead developers of a popular open source IM application called Gaim. Egan and other Gaim developers have already managed to integrate Google Talk's voice features into the Gaim 2.0 branch, which is scheduled for release next month. (Interested users might want to take a look at the beta release!)

After Google's acquisition of a five percent stake in AOL last week, both companies decided that it would be advantageous to implement complete interoperability between Google Talk and AIM. Now that Google has the uncontested champion of IM technologies on its buddy list, it has the leverage it needs to get other services to jump on the interoperability bandwagon.

/arstechnica/

6 comments:

ladydaria said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

http://daridonovan.net/blog/

Q said...

Somehow I have a funny feeling that unifying IMs together won't work too well... But oh well, I have 3 differnt IMs and I'm still satisfied like that.

Merry Christmas to you!

amorson said...

Merry Christmas

Jared said...

I think it is great that google chose jabber...and I really wish people would switch over from AIM, now that most people have a gmail account. Until then, I will continue to use gaim. It will all happen in time...

Wally Banners said...

Never knew about Gaim until now. Super Blog!

Anonymous said...

I dont think Jingle (google talk's voice capabilities) are anywhere in GAIM 2.0. I remember something being announced about that also, but downloaded it and it is not there. If you know where it is, please advise.

Cheers