Along with the rest of the Internet, I was excited to read of Google's purchase of 5% of AOL Time Warner and wonder about what implications it would have for Google Talk. In case you missed it, it was one line in the press release that got me excited:
Enabling Google Talk and AIM instant messaging users to communicate with each other, provided certain conditions are met;
An article in eWeek provided more details, but did not assuage my fears.
Integrating Google Talk and AIM will be done in a roundabout way, mostly to keep AOL and Google from exposing the valuable profile information customers must first provide to sign up.
In essence, the two IM networks will not be connected. Rather, Google's Google Talk users must first sign up for an AIM account and screen name. They can then carry on a conversation with an AIM user by using their Google IM desktop dashboard.
If eWeek is correct, and Google Talk's AIM integration is programmed in such a way that IM clients other than Google Talk are unable to utilize it, the promise of Google Talk, as the uniter of disparate instant messaging networks who would make it easy to contact everyone everywhere, has failed.