Monday, September 19, 2005

Google enters IM market

Google now has its own Instant Messaging software, Google Talk, in Beta. The Developer page states,

"We plan to partner with other willing service providers to enable federation of our services. This means that a user on one service can communicate with users on another service without needing to sign up for, or sign in with, each service. "
What does this have to do with Information Literacy? As much as librarians like to discuss virtual (remote) reference services, it is a service that has not come into its own yet. One problem is that services such as OCLC's QuestionPoint require library users to download a plug-in. Some libraries already use Yahoo or AOL Instant Messengers, but this excludes all library users who use a different IM service than the library's from their virtual reference service. If Google Talk is able to federate with the most popular IM services, a library could provide virtual reference to patrons using a variety of IM services.

1 comment:

Nanette said...

An alternative to using AIM or Yahoo exclusively is to use free software like GAIM, which allows you to connect to multiple services using a single interface. Then the library just needs to sign up for accounts with each service and they're good to go! GAIM works with AIM, Yahoo, and MSN Messenger, and I think it's scheduled to be compatible with Google Talk as well. We haven't signed up for a Google Talk account at our library yet, but if the service takes off, I'm sure we will. There's another program called Trillian, but I think that one is fee-based, whereas GAIM is free.

Our IM reference is in its infancy (we just started on September 1st) but we've noticed people adding our screen names to their buddy lists. We've got QuestionPoint here as well, but I've never used it.