Passing messages between Google Talk and ICQ

Recently Google announced that GTalk users can now communicate with AIM users.  I didn’t mention it here and, in fact, didn’t pay it much attention since I don’t use AOL Instant Messenger.  Why do I suddenly come back to this announcement?  Well, because my memory played a Grand Failure Play on me.  Here is a quote from Wikipedia page about ICQ:

ICQ was developed in 1996 by Mirabilis. The company was founded by four young Israelis: Yair Goldfinger, Arik Vardi, Sefi Vigiser and Amnon Amir. After AOL bought it, it was managed by Ariel Yarnitsky and Avi Shechter.
America Online acquired Mirabilis on June 8, 1998

This was almost 10 years ago.  ICQ is still popular among a few million users.  AIM is also popular among a few million users.  Isn’t two popular instant messaging protocols just a little bit too much for one company?  Well, it’s not too much, if these two protocols share a lot in common.  Do they?
Yes, they do.  That’s why you can go to your Gmail right now, navigate to Chat section of the Settings, and login into AIM with your ICQ credentials.  It’ll just work.  You’ll get all your contacts from the ICQ server populating buddy list of your GTalk.  You’ll see who is online and who is not.  You’ll be able to send and receive messages to your ICQ contacts from GTalk. And you’ll have the history of your communications saved in your Gmail in exactly the same way as you have it with GTalk.  Wow!

(Note that there this functionality is still very young and there are a few issues here and there, but I’m sure they will be ironed out in the nearest future.  One of the annoyances for now though is encoding problem when receiving ICQ messages in Russian, and possibly some other languages too.)

I’m really glad to see such integration.  I do use Gmail for a lot of communications and contact related work, and having ICQ/AIM integrated with it helps me to keep it all together.  Hopefully, there will be more and better integrations with  other communication tools – Yahoo Messenger, Skype, Twitter…

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