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Google Gets Chatty With AOL

Yet another reason to evict AOL's software from your computer: You can now use your AOL instant-messaging account in Gmail.

Google and AOL first revealed plans to link their instant-messaging networks at the end of 2004, and once promised to have the job done by the end of last year. Instead, Google announced the integration of AIM and Google Talk yesterday afternoon.

To use it, log into Gmail and click the "Options" link at the bottom of the chat box at the left side of the window. You should see a "Sign into AIM" link; click that to enter your AIM user name and password, and you should see your AIM buddies listed with your Google Talk buddies. Gmail's help pages explain further.

This integration only provides text chat, without any of the multimedia options available in AIM, such as animated avatars, voice and video chat and so on. But it also frees you of AOL's bloated, ad-riddled AIM software.

Is this a welcome development, or have you been using some other AIM-compatible option (Pidgin, Trillian, iChat, Adium, Meebo, etc.) for years? Or do you prefer to use AIM?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  December 5, 2007; 11:37 AM ET
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I have always hated AOL software. So I've been using Trillian for as long as I can remember.

Posted by: Bart | December 5, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't aware that AOL still even existed!
Do they still hve the "you got mail" voice?

Posted by: Steve Ballmer | December 5, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I purchased a Dell PC 1-1/2 weeks ago. The PC came with an offer for 6 months of free AOL.
I accepted the offer and, of course, I gave my credit card information.
I used AOL a week and do not like it. I removed it from the PC.
Because, I have read horrible stories about trying to terminate a subcription after giving credit card information I called my credit card customer service and was informed that there was nothing they could do. Remember, AOL will begin billing 6 months from now.
What should I do to avoid AOL billing my credit card?
Thanks, Angelo

Posted by: Angelo G. B. | December 5, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Call AOL and cancel your subscription.

Posted by: Common Sense | December 5, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This is a welcome thing. I was using just Gmail chat at work, but lately I've switched to Meebo (like it a lot).

However, when I'm on my Sidekick I can't talk to anyone on Gmail, but I can talk to AIM. So this is nice.

Posted by: SG | December 5, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I use Pidgin (or Gaim as it used to be called before AOL got lawyer-happy). It's lightweight but extensible, supports just about every IM protocol, and it works on Linux and Windows -- what's not to like?

Posted by: Miniver Cheevy | December 5, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I used Trillian for a long time but I recently switched to Ubuntu instead of Vista and it came with Pidgin. Pidgin is far superior to Trillian, much lighter, more aesthetically pleasing, etc (at least for me), so if you haven't checked it out, do so. Oh, and there's no "sign into AIM" under my options. Is that because I have no AIM on my cpu? One final thing, if you don't use AIM but still have it on your cpu you can still get virii from it, at least that's what I hear.

Posted by: Jason | December 5, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I've been using Trillian all along -- we use AIM at work but are not supposed to use the AIM client because of viruses. However, I've started using GoogleTalk too, and it would be nice to have a single client for everything. (Last I checked, you couldn't access GoogleTalk via Trillian unless you had a paid Google account, or something like that.)

So I guess I'll check this out. I have too many little programs running on this machine.

Posted by: Tony | December 5, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Google's just as shady as AOL. Worse now.

Posted by: Derek | December 5, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

AIM client works just fine for me - especially when i want to send large files in addition to chat. As far as ads - it amazes me how people will complain about seeing an ad that pays for service they are using or movie/show they are watching.

Posted by: Ralph | December 5, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I use Pidgin to connect to AIM, Gmail chat, and MSN. I've been using Pidgin for about four years and am quite happy with it.

Posted by: William | December 5, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Are on any of you on AIM using the newly-patched version yet? AIM 6.5 has been broken and vulnerable to easy attacks since the day it was released. AOL only got around to suposedly finishing their patching of it this week:

This begs the question: shouldn't people use safer chat clients, such as Pidgin and Trillian?

Posted by: Marah Marie | December 5, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I use Kopete. I'm surprised AOL was actually willing to help Google do this. They used to be openly hostile to interoperability. Most likely, they're getting a cut.

Posted by: Matthew Flaschen | December 6, 2007 5:39 AM | Report abuse

AOL is old news. Funny how they always tried to claim they were Internet-related in the beginning when actually they had nothing to do with the internet and were an entire network of their own making--software, phone lines, modems, etc. The real Internet was separate from them. This is the reason AOL is a kludge now. They are essentially a piece of standalone junk that is "hooked" into the real Internet. Junk that should be disconnected. It's like trying to put a 1905 engine in a 2007 SUV. Just wont work.

Posted by: Jim | December 6, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

How about AIM Lite as an alternative to the full AIM?

No ads. Pluggable.

Posted by: Sean | December 6, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I use Adium on my Macs at home, Pidgin on Windows / Linux, and GoTalkMobile (for Google Talk) on my J2ME cell phone.

Posted by: Charles | December 6, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Pidgin fan from way back in the Gaim days. Using AIM for too long can make you forget that a program is supposed to open when you click the icon, not several minutes after. Plus, there's no Pidgin Today page that opens in a whole new (unwelcome) browser.

My parents are sadly still loyal to AOL, but I ditched the software when they bought me a laptop, and use their Internet connection with the Maxthon Browser, Thunderbird, and Pidgin. America OffLine, more like.

Posted by: Doc | December 6, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

My Gmail won't even load anymore on my work computer! I don't know what happened. Once the "new" version took over, I'd have to click my bookmark twice to get into my Inbox, but shortly after I took on AIM in my Gchat, my email won't even load at all. It will load on my home laptop, however. Curious.

Posted by: Chelsea | December 12, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

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