The popular Gmail service from Google is clearly a work in progress - it still carries the 'beta' tag after all - but that's mainly because it keeps getting better, rather than that it isn't finished. The latest useful addition that many have been waiting for is the ability to connect to the AOL instant messaging (AIM) network.
Users of Google Talk, an IM client embedded into the Gmail interface on a web page, have long been able to talk to other Gmail users, but not with friends on AIM, the world's largest messaging service. As of today, however, Google has announced an upgrade that allows the two protocols to get cosy together.
Buddy buddy relationship
While staying friendly with AOL, the Google boffins are clearly proud of their work as well as the fact that they now offer an AIM connection that feels like Google Talk.
In its happy-clappy press release Google says: "The features you love most about Gmail chat, such as chat history and automatic sorting of your buddies based on frequency of communication, work seamlessly across your Google and AIM buddies."
Nonetheless, only the basic features of chat are available through the new interface. More advanced tasks, such as file-sharing, are still absent from Google Talk, so there's still a place for old standalone stalwarts like AIM after all.
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J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.