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In 2007 Google enabled AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) users to log in via the Google Talk “Chat” area in the Gmail sidebar, bringing the two services closer together. This made it easier to stay in touch with AIM buddies, but still didn’t allow for direct communication with Google Talk users.

Not for long however, as the two are about to become interoperable; meaning Google Talk and AIM users will be able to chat regardless of which service they use for the first time.

As part of the change, AOL users will no longer be able to log into AIM from the Gmail sidebar. AOL suggests users continue to use AIM as a desktop (or mobile) client, slowly adding Gmail buddies or use Google Talk as normal and add your AIM buddies simply by their email address. The change might take some users a while to import contacts, and a notice on the AIM website suggests they’re working on a quicker migration process.

AOL are developing an importer which should allow users to migrate their entire AIM buddy list to Google Talk. Users who are already happy with the AIM client will be able to add Gmail contacts, though the process can be a laborious process: one at a time.

Anyone interested in switching from AIM to Google Talk as part of the shake-up should be aware that status indications (“Available”, “Away” and so on) are only possible from AIM, according to AOL. As to when this new functionality will land? It appears AOL are rolling out the change gradually: “You will be notified in Gmail when this new functionality is enabled for your account.”


Will this IM shake-up affect you? Will you miss logging in to AIM from Gmail? Will you switch from AIM to Google Talk? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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  1. Jenny Helton
    June 6, 2011 at 3:05 am

    I don't like my aim missing from my googletalk. I want my aim back on gmail.

  2. Scutterman
    May 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I generally use a web messenger such as from my phone

  3. Srivatsan Venkatesh
    May 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    My phone only does AIM, Windows Live and Yahoo. Most of my friends use gmail. So this could work out.

    • Scutterman
      May 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      I generally use a web messenger such as from my phone

  4. Shane Lear
    May 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I wouldn't touch anything AOL with a ten-foot stick.