Imo.im is an instant message social aggregator that turns your social network friends (Facebook, Myspace) into IM friends. This will allow instant messaging to occur through Imo.im instead of through a single IM service like AIM, Yahoo Messenger and Gtalk. VentureBeat makes an interesting case of a possibly bigger trend:
if services that pair social network data with IM will it eventually render AIM and other IM services obsolete?
I think the bigger trend is correct but I think this trend is still wildly unclear which symbiotic relationship between social, IM aggreagtors and traditional IM will surface. Services like AIM, Yahoo Messenger and Gtalk have an enormous userbase built-in and continually rollout “social” services that seamlessly function within the instant messenger environment. The existing IM providers will develop enough social prowess to compete with the big social networks. Compete may be a strong word, but instant messaging services like Gtalk and AIM will continue to go social and force the social network user to go where the useful functionality is. IM in social networks has a lot to be desired and traditional IM has a long working history. Instant Messanging aggregation is a difficult animal because social can go IM and IM can go social, so where does that leave the IM aggregator?
I think Meebo has a huge headstart in this space and is already turning social themselves. Meebo is an aggegator, a social service and distribute killer plug and play widgets that can go in any social network. Meebo is front in center in my netvibes for my IM widget of choice. However I still find myself using traditional IM services…
For example, I have a gmail and yahoo email account….that automatically entitles me to a Gtalk IM and Yahoo IM. I find I use IM because I have email from these providers. Nothing to download, IM is just seamlessly integrated. Yahoo and Google will import your offline contacts and other free email contacts as well. If these services decide to import social network contacts, where does that leave the IM aggregator? VentureBeat nailed the bigger trend in this space and with the web becoming one big open melting pot of services, it begs that question….who will own the killer app? The aggregators or the aggregated.