Most people don’t think of Google as an instant messaging company. Maybe that’s just because Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and other technology companies had their fingers in that pie so long before Google entered the picture. But thanks to Gmail chat, chat from the iGoogle interface, and Google Talk, Google really is a serious competitor when it comes to messaging clients. While the associated features may be somewhat simplistic, all the bases are covered, including cross-platform communication capabilities with those using AIM.
AIM has already been workable with Google services. You could add AIM contacts to Google Talk since the day Talk was launched, for one. Additionally, since 2008 it’s been possible to add AIM users to your Gmail chat, assuming you had an AIM account yourself. Now that process has been simplified and expanded.
First and foremost, users will no longer have to have an AIM account to add their contacts. They can simply add the AIM contact in the same exact way they would add a normal Gmail contact: inputting their user name in the chat section of Gmail and inviting the user to chat. As a natural result of this, logging into AIM has been dropped as a Gmail feature; it’s no longer necessary, so it’s being tossed aside.
Further, beyond Google Talk and Gmail, users can now chat with AIM contacts in Orkut, iGoogle, and Google Talk for Mobile (assuming you’re running an Android phone or tablet). To get access to these contacts, users will simply have to re-add the AIM contact via the new method. If you have an especially long list of contacts to import, AOL has made the process simple by adding acontact export option.
[via the Gmail Blog]