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Could Google Finally Deliver On Old AOL Promises?

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Two years ago next month, Google bought five percent of AOL for a billion dollars. Yeah, you might have forgotten that, but it was a really big deal at the time.

While Google’s main motivation was to keep being the search technology for fifth-place AOL Search, there was a lot of talk on both sides about the two companies working together. The big get, mentioned right in the press release: Google Talk and AOL Instant Messenger integration.

What the hell happened? It’s been two years, and the two products have made less effort to work together than the U.S. Congress. Granted, development on Google Talk has gone dark, with a second version of the product either not in development or massively delayed, and AOL’s rising star software division suffered massive multiple layoffs that have decimated their ability to ship good products and hold talented engineers, but interaction between the protocols could have been done quickly if someone had made it a priority.

As we do every once in a while, we’re hearing more leaks about supposed GTalk/AIM integration, this time in the form of leaked screenshots of a future Gmail build. If Gmail Chat gets AIM integration, that would be great news, but if it gets it and Google Talk doesn’t, it might be time to declare development of Talk a dead project. All the new Google Talk features seem to be happening in other projects, while the desktop client lies fallow.

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Could Google Finally Deliver On Old AOL Promises?
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