Google kicks open closed IM services

Yowza! How long will it take for Google’s IM and voice chat to meet and surpass the usage of the whole sorry proprietary lot of AIM, Yahoo, and MSN. And how many minutes will it take to open their networks after Google’s announcement?
In a world where you can phone anybody and email anybody and fax anybody, the IM vendors created absurd islands.
Google’s service is based on the open Jabber protocol, unlike Yahoo, which fought and lost a guerrilla war last year against the third-party clients Gaim and Trillian, which patiently reverse engineered the repeated protocol changes that Yahoo used to fend off other clients.
By contrast, Google’s site proudly advertises other clients, including Adium, Gaim, iChat, Psi, and Trillian. The developer site invites developers to build more tools to help more people connect.
The vile AOL terms of service claims that AOL owns the content of its customers’ conversations: “”Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content.” AOL makes customers agree to those draconian terms, and then has the gall to claim that they don’t really mean it, it’s just boilerplate, the lawyers made us do it.
By contrast, Google’s lawyers know who’s the boss: ” Your Intellectual Property Rights. Google does not otherwise claim any ownership in any of the content, including any text, data, information, images, photographs, music, sound, video, or other material, that you upload or transmit from, or store using, your Google Talk account.”
I look forward to hearing from voice gurus about Google’s choices for security and voice — they’re starting off with XMPP, and adding support for SIP, and are federating with Earthlink and Sipphone service.
Summary — the anybody talks to anybody approach will destroy the island approach. Reed’s Law wins: the utility of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network.
tip from Chip, who explains that the server supports TLS security to encrypt your words in transit.
p.s. critique from the folks at Techdirt that the Google IM client is missing some important features — it doesn’t save conversation history, and it doesn’t search. It’s hard to imagine that Google will forget search in future versions.
I still think that major provider + open network + developer community will beat the closed islands over time.

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