You may have noticed some changes to your GMail lately. First was the introduction of “Group Chat” functionality, allowing you and several of your coworkers to bitch about your boss to each other via the Internet instead of the water cooler. Then came the new emoticons, which I generally dislike as they are cheesy and just plain ugly in my opinion (with the exception of the monkey…try him out –> “:(|)” … he’s my favorite). Finally, there has been the added option of color-coding emails, which I have yet to try out, but am excited to see how quickly I turn my inbox into a virtual pile of Rainbow Brite vomit.
Today, GMail has outdone themselves, ending months of patient waiting by AIM nerds everywhere, as now your AIM buddies can be incorporated into your GChat friends. Please, stop your thunderous applause friends. I know you’re excited. I, too, have been anxiously awaiting the moment when my two friends who still use AIM in any capacity can be reached through my Gmail.
In case you’re wondering how to get your little AIM buddy list appearing, simply go to your Settings tab and click on the Chat settings. There should be an option now to set up your AIM list.
And yes, in case you were keeping score, Google is still planning to take over the world.
As we are all acutely aware of by this point, the face of interpersonal communication has undergone quite a transformation in the last decade. I still clearly remember the thrill of chatting with friends and strangers (and, unfortunately, perverts) more than 10 years ago when I first signed up for AOL. Today, we have a ridiculous number of options in online chatting capabilities, from the old standard AIM, to the more international MSN, to the tech nerdy ICQ and the current obsession of my friends, GTalk. One would think these platforms would all be integrated by now so that when I sign into GMail, my AIM list magically appears under my GChatting buddies. Makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN integrated more than a year ago. And I know Google never likes it when Microsoft (or Yahoo! for that matter) beats them to the punch.
Well, for those of you dying to maintain all seventeen of your chat lists in one central location, I do have some good news for you. Google and AIM are currently working out some kinks and expect to launch AIM in GMail “in the near future,” whatever that means.
Alternatively, for those who have yet to hear about Meebo, this site actually does allow you to bring in your contacts from MSN, Yahoo!, GTalk, AIM, ICQ and Jabber in one, big, AIM-looking list. It’s a rather blah-looking site, without the charm of GTalk in my opinion (and, of course, without having your email right there to check and send messages). For me, I’ve pretty much abandoned AIM, although there are a few friends on it who I don’t talk to via GChat. But overall, I prefer just my GTalk.
I wonder if government employees who can’t sign into GMail can sign into Meebo…that would be quite the gem.