AIM and GMail Unite

Posted Dec 6, 2007

“Starting today, Gmail users can sign into their AIM accounts via Gmail chat and talk with AIM buddies just as they do with their Google Talk friends. Best of all, the features you love most
about Gmail chat, such as chat history and automatic sorting of your buddies based on frequency of communication, work seamlessly across your Google and AIM buddies.”
-Mike Jazayeri, Senior Product Manager, Google Inc. [source: Official Google Blog]
[picture credit: About GMail]

Two years ago, Google Inc. announced that they were planning on making a way to enable AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) users to communicate via GMail, powered by Google Talk.  The message was made shortly after Google invested $1 billion into Time Warner’s AOL LLC in December 2005.  Yesterday that promise was fulfilled.

The synergy created by the GMail-AIM partnership is a challenge to Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo!’s Messenger instant message services unification. 

Below are the numbers of users according to an Associated Press release provide by comScore metrics:
Gmail had 87 million users worldwide in October 2007 (64% increase from last year). 
Yahoo’s e-mail: 262 million users
Microsoft’s Windows Live Mail: 256 million users

Instant Messaging:
AOL Instant Messenger: 35.4 million users in October 2007
Microsoft Windows Live Messenger: 223 million users
Yahoo! Messenger: 97 million

Based on my observations, I would say that Microsoft Windows Live Messenger has the strongest market penetration for e-mail and instant messaging because of the fact that they were one of the first to market their services around the world.  AOL Instant Messenger was released first, but it was tied to AOL’s dial-up services in the 1990’s. 

And people simply became accustomed to MSN/Windows Live Messenger.  However, Google’s market-share in other countries is intensifying.  Within the last year, Orkut started to support Google Talk as well and Orkut has a strong market-share in countries around Asia and South America.  By this time again next year, I’m predicting that Google Talk would have as many users as AIM.