Well, it appears that Google might be releasing an IM system after all. I’ll go ahead and link to the Slashdot story here, but it appears that it will be based on Jabber, which is an open instant messaging protocol. This should be interesting, as there are already several Jabber IM clients out there, and most of the multi-IM programs support Jabber. I probably won’t get on it quite yet, as one needs a Gmail account to actually use their IM service, and I currently lack one. (I never needed it.)
I’ve actually been using Jabber extensively, myself. How, you might ask? Well… when V.7 of MK Online was being developed, one of the ideas I had in mind was a private IM system. So, Joe and I worked together and got a Jabber server working on the site. I don’t know how popular the IM system as a whole is, mind you, but it’s worked very nicely for me. It’s tied into the site PM system, so whenever someone sends me a PM on the site, I get it on whatever IM program I’m using at the time (Gaim, Fire, or CenterICQ). There’s been a couple of glitches, but on the whole, I like to think it was one of my better ideas.
On the downside, it appears that AOL has been messing around with the TOC servers for AOL Instant Messenger. For those not in the know, there are actually two protocols used for AIM. The one that most of the clients (especially the GUI-based ones like Gaim, Trillian, and the official clients) use is called Oscar, and has all of the nice nifty features. The other one is called TOC, and is a very minimalistic protocol. However, TOC is an open protocol and last I checked is specifically kept open for the outside clients to use. Anyway, CenterICQ (which is the IM program I use at work) stopped working this weekend, and it turns out the TOC servers are to blame. The program naim has apparently gotten a working version going by using an updated protocol called TOC2, but CenterICQ’s lagging behind. (I don’t even think it’s being actively developed nowadays.) So, what I’ve been having to do is use CenterICQ for ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, and MK Online Jabber… and use iChat for AIM. It sucks, but what can I do?
Oh, well… here’s hoping they fix the issue relatively quickly. I’d like to go back to one program for all of my IM needs. In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing and work from there.