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GMail and Hotmail Do Presence

I was working away this morning when my GTalk popped.  It was Jeff, trying out a new feature of GMail.

8:09 AM jeff.pulver: are you also using gmail

8:10 AM me: try not to. Have too many email addresses :)
 jeff.pulver: i am chatting via gmail right now
 me: from within gmail?
 jeff.pulver: from inside gmail – while I am reading email
 me: cool!
8:11 AM jeff.pulver: very cool. you are my 2nd conversation..
 me: wow. Just loading gmail now.
  is that a standard feature?
 jeff.pulver: it is now
  now. got turned on a day or so ago
 me: Ah… I see the window on the left side
  VERY cool
8:12 AM jeff.pulver: yes
  google understands presence
  just when I was wondering what to blog about
 me: I wonder if the MSN guys will do the same
  :)
 jeff.pulver: they have no choice
 me: write it. I’ll link you right after

Over on the left side of the GMail window there’s now a panel called "Quick Contacts" which shows you all your GTalk buddies.  You can initiate a conversation from the browser as well, and it starts in another panel attached to the page.  Of course, if you navigate away, the conversation ends.  That’s a little inconvenient.

After chatting with Jeff I went and checked out MSN as well.  In Hotmail they have a similar feature.  In Hotmail, if you click on your addres book, you can see presence icons for all of your contacts, and can initiate a conversation with MSN messenger.  The integration isn’t as tight as GMail / GTalk, because it simply launches a messenger window.  However, you can continue the conversation and navigate away with the Microsoft solution.

And if you’re a MSN premium subscriber, you can have the identical feature to the GMail / GTalk feature, but you can turn it into a tear away that you can drop on your desktop.

It seems clear that both companies are looking at IM and EMail as being two sides of the same coin.  Google has the upper hand in terms of integration, in my opinion.  The fact that all my GTalk threads get stored in the mail system makes a ton of sense.  But Microsoft has a nicer user experience. 

Neat!  And like Jeff, I am eagerly looking forward to more integration.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Jim Courtney February 19, 2006, 8:25 pm

    Does this mean we should keep our eyes open looking for SkypeMail? (for completeness sake).

  • Alec February 19, 2006, 8:48 pm

    Good question :)

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