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February 7, 2006

Google blends IM with email

Posted by David Hunter at 9:43 AM ET.

Laurie J. Flynn at the NY Times:

Google, the search-engine giant, is expected on Tuesday to disclose that it will join its instant-messaging service with its popular Gmail program, the latest indication that the company has set its sights on the broader communications industry.

The new program, called Gmail Chat, will let Gmail users exchange text messages with others without having to log onto a separate chat program, making instant messaging simpler and more integrated with the e-mail program.

From anywhere in Gmail, the user can see who is available to chat. The program will also allow users to store instant-message conversations.

But regardless of its features, Gmail Chat faces a considerable challenge if it hopes to lure users away from established instant-messaging programs like those of AOL, Yahoo and MSN, with tens of millions of users in total.

And I think that’s about it – this will add to the attraction of the Google platform, but isn’t likely to change the landscape. Elinor Mills at CNET:

In the United States, Gmail is the fourth most popular Web-based e-mail program, and Google Talk is ranked seventh among instant messaging programs, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

Yahoo Mail indicates to users when their Yahoo Messenger contacts are online and allows them to launch a dialog with them instantly, as well as letting them make voice calls. It also allows users to check their voice mail and launch voice calling from Yahoo Mail. America Online’s AIM Triton offers integrated e-mail, instant messaging, SMS text messaging and voice and video chat.

Gmail Chat is being rolled out gradually starting today and getting to all Gmail subscribers by the end of February.

Filed under AOL, Coopetition, Google, Hotmail, MSN, MSN Messenger, Windows Live, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo

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