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Let’s start this journey by taking a ride back in time. Some of you are too young to remember the Internet of the early 90s. Back then one of the most popular ways to get “online” was to use AOL. This was the popular online service that came via disks you received in the mail. Prodigy and Compuserve were on their way out and this new service AOL was the darling of the time. I went to college in a small town in upstate New York which had no local number for AOL. I had to call to Albany to access AOL. And boy did I access AOL. One of my first months I received a phone bill for over $500 in long-distance charges (where was Vonage back then?!?) and that didn’t even include the AOL access fees. I still use the same username on AOL today that I originally registered way back then.
AOL was exciting – you could read news, send and receive email, play games, IM chat with friends, go into chat rooms based around topics, search for content, listen to music, send eCards, customize the home page to suit your preferences and a variety of other online tasks. In later versions of the AOL desktop, a Web browser was included and other “partners” were added to allow for additional content and, what I will call, applications.
It sure does seem that the more we try to move the Internet forward, the more things seem to copy the old. So with that said, allow me to introduce you to the next version of AOL… AOL 2.0… otherwise known as Facebook.
I just received a tip that something is going on with the Microsoft Messenger/Windows Live Messenger. If you check Twitter search, you can see many people are being asked via a message on Microsoft Messenger to change their email address and/or login. I’ve posted a screenshot of the message below. Yahoo Answers has an open thread on the issue and the replies seem to indicate that it is some sort of worm/virus. The initial poster on Yahoo Answers says the box appears each time they login to MSN Messenger and that it takes them to a link on the Microsoft site but there’s no way to change the email address. Naturally Yahoo Answers isn’t absolute confirmation but I would tread lightly for now.
I have emailed Microsoft for a reply to the issue and will update this post if/when I hear back. Please leave a comment if you have any details or if this same issue is occuring with your Messenger installation.
Update: Microsoft has posted an announcement about the need to change the login id. The change has to do with the Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 product offering.
Today Meebo is announcing that the Facebook chat integration is back. Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg notes in an upcoming blog post, "After some hard work from the folks here at Meebo and help from a whole host of people at Facebook, we now have Facebook back in Meebo. Pus, Meebo is now the first launch partner of the ‘alpha’version of the Facebook Connect + Chat integration. That’s pretty cool."
Sternberg also noted that the login process for Facebook Chat is a bit different than the other chat networks that Meebo supports. But once the account is connected, it will work the same as the other chat networks.
Note: This story was embargoed for 2pm Eastern but as suspected Techcrunch posted early.
Instant messaging and chat application provider Meebo is announcing the integration of Facebook and MySpace chat into the Meebo web client today. The concept is that you can now chat inside of Meebo with both the traditional instant messenger clients plus the social network chat clients as well. It’s a smart move for Meebo as the longer they can keep users inside their application, the more they can push ads via their marketing platform.
I have to admit I’ve never used MySpace chat and everytime I try the Facebook chat, no one replies when I ping them. I am still happy in my AIM/Skype world. I have wrestled with installing any chat service on my mobile as sometimes it’s nice to not be immediately accessible for a few minutes.
Meebo noted in their release that they are the first web app to support both Facebook and MySpace chat applications. Online chat aggregator eBuddy already supports MySpace on the web client and Facebook on the mobile client. So I can only assume that Meebo means first in supporting both networks simultaneously.
Meebo currently self-reports a userbase of over 40 million (not sure of active users). Check out our interview with Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg.
Editor’s note: eBuddy is a CN sponsor.
Back in September we broke the news about eBuddy adding Facebook chat to their mobile application and that they had 7 million mobile app downloads to-date. Today eBuddy has announced that they have hit the 10 million mobile app downloads mark.
Matt Marshall has a good overview of where eBuddy is relative to the other players in the market. Matt notes, "eBuddy’s progress comes even as other young players stumble. Competitor Trutap, which also let people chat across different IM services, and another mobile service, EQO, have both stumbled recently. Trutap, of the UK, just let go almost 80 percent of its staff after its main venture backer, Tudor Ventures, withdrew its support and the company failed to raise another round of capital, and EQO also recently failed to raise funding, and has cut two-thirds of its staff."
eBuddy currently reports 3 million monthly mobile users. When I started CN two years ago, it seemed like eBuddy and Meebo were direct competitors. Today it seems they are both succeeding but taking different paths to their respective success. eBuddy has raised $11.5 million in venture capital to-date.
Editor’s note: eBuddy is a CN sponsor.
This morning I was using the mobile version of eBuddy and I noticed that Facebook Chat was listed on the menu. This was the first time I saw Facebook listed in the options. I spoke with eBuddy CEO Jan-Joost Rueb to confirm that the Facebook Chat listing was new. Basically he confirmed that Facebook Chat is in a soft-launch period and that they will publicly announce the launch in the coming weeks. Rueb also noted that J2ME and Ajax versions will be updated soon.
While I had Rueb on the line (he’s in Amsterdam) he shared that eBuddy mobile has been downloaded over 7 million times and is beating Google Maps in downloads (based on GetJar rankings). Once eBuddy publicly announces the Facebook Chat launch, this should help increase their total downloads and usage time even further.
AOL has announced the launch of a new flash-based instant messaging application today. AIM Express allows you to do everything you can in the normal AIM client inside of a Web browser. In my testing this morning, I found it to work very well. As you chat with more people, tabs show up on the top of the application so you can jump back and forth. Everything is contained inside of the one Flash application.
I wonder if they could port this to a desktop app using Adobe AIR as it would allow everything to be contained inside the app instead of opening windows for each current chat. The new AIM Express also allows for text messaging using SMS for friends that are offline.
AOL also announced the launch of an updated Windows Mobile client. The new client includes ads from AOL’s Platform-A division.