Google and AOL just launched this cool new functionality where Gtalk users can message AIM users and vice versa.
Gtalk users have been able to sign into AIM with their AIM screen names through Gtalk for a while, but this is the next step in integrating the two services. And, to make the functionality even cooler, AOL built a import tool to help Gtalk users import their AIM contacts. Pretty cool right? I thought so… at first.
Excited about the newly integrated services, I started to go through the import process. And, then I stopped. Why would I want to clutter my Google contact list with old AIM contacts that I haven’t really used for close to 10 years.
After thinking about it more, I decided that this integration really wasn’t all that exciting.
What Google and AIM should do, if they really want to integrate their services, is allow people to set up their Gtalk screen names and AIM screen names as aliases. That would allow the two services to be seamless.
Here’s the problem, with the new integration method, I’m not going to sign into AIM. All of my AIM contacts can now be in Gtalk so there’s no longer a need for AIM. The only issue for me is that my old AIM buddies aren’t going to know how to find me because I’ll be using my Gtalk screen name. But that’s a issue I’m willing to deal with.
I’m betting this will be the case for a lot of users. It’s bad news for AOL. The best solution is to move to an aliases integration, as I mentioned above. That would be a win for both Google and AOL. What do you think?