Earlier this week we had a coffee with GoogleTalk product manager, Mike Jazayeri. Mike mentioned that this announcement (Google Opens IM and Talk) was going to hit the next day. Google has allowed anyone using XMPP to send traffic openly to and from their cloud. This is in sharp contrast with the federation agreement announced between Yahoo and Microsoft. Mike later wrote about this announcement on the Google Blog, and one of the supporters of this announcement, Michael Robertson, also blogged it.
Google is probably going to get lots of pats on the back for this. And, deservedly so. What they’re doing is breaking down the walls between the walled gardens of todays providers. But it’s also smart business strategy. When you’re coming from behind (far behind, in Google’s case), one of the best strategies to thwart a competitor with a proprietary technology is to cloak yourself in open technology. And that’s what they’re doing. They’re not being evil, but they’re also note operating out of pure unselfish interest.