Lotus SameTime Connects With Major IM Communities
December 11, 2006 Dan Burger
When IBM‘s Lotus division announced on December 6 that its SameTime instant messaging software is available with gateways to two immensely popular IM networks–AOL‘s AIM and Google‘s Google Talk–the boundaries of collaboration were seriously expanded. In a few weeks, a third major network, Yahoo! Messenger, will be added and another major step on the road to instant messaging integration will have been taken. According to IBM, this will put more than 157 million instant messaging users into one community.
That’s not the same as saying “no boundaries,” but it’s a leap from multiple proprietary networks, which was an accurate description of the instant messaging landscape until recently. Lotus SameTime users become part of a much larger world. After all, when collaboration is limited to Lotus Island is it really collaboration? It’s good to see integration come into the picture when you talk about collaboration as much as the Lotus software executives do.
The integration of SameTime with the likes of AIM, Google Talk, and Yahoo! Messenger involves working around the intricacies of individual provider protocols and two industry standards: SIMPLE and XMPP. Most of the IM players, including IBM Lotus, backed SIMPLE, but added their own little tweaks, which derailed automatic collaboration among systems sharing the SIMPLE standard. Sounds a bit like the Tower of Babel, doesn’t it? Then Google comes along and chooses the XMPP standard, which happens to be an open source model. Google, quite frankly, is too big to ignore, but give IBM some credit for recognizing the obvious when the decision was made to hook up with the major systems. It could have chosen to ignore support for XMPP and Google. As you might expect, IBM is quite pleased with itself for making this decision and is using this opportunity to parade around in the robes of the open source champion. If you’ve not been wondering where Microsoft has pitched its tent, Big Blue will surely be disappointed. If you need a clue, let’s just say it’s not on the open source side of the stream.
If you are a Sametime user, you should be happy to know that you will be able to add AIM, Google Talk, and Yahoo! Messenger contacts to your SameTime client and the availability status of external contacts will also be displayed.
Access to the AOL, Yahoo and Google IM communities is included in the license for Lotus SameTime 7.5, and customers can download the SameTime Gateway through IBM Passport Advantage.