Microsoft has just released the ability for www.outlook.com users to Instant Message and see the presence of Google users. Interestingly the same week Microsoft announced and delivered outlook to Google interoperability, Google dropped a bombshell and noted that their nextgen IM/P solution called Hangouts (which will eventually replace Google Talk) would no longer support XMPP federation. Does this mean outlook.com to Google interop is doomed?
Actually not necessarily...at least not right now. Very interestingly outlook.com does not use XMPP federation, as one might expect, to talk to Google users: It appears to use the Google Talk API. What does this mean?
- It means you will need a Google user login associated with your outlook.com account.
- It also means that Google/Gmail users that receive an IM from your outlook.com account will look exactly like it is coming from a normal Google/Gmail user. (In fact, if you are logged into Gmail when an Outlook –> Google IM is occurring, you will see the conversation there)
- It also means all your Google contacts will flow over into the Outlook.com People list.
- It also means that you can IM from Outlook.com (via Google Talk login) to federated XMPP/Jabber based IM servers for as long as Google allows 3rd party clients to login to Google Talk and Google Talk does not remove XMPP federation.
IM/P between Outlook.com and a plain jane XMPP jabber.org IM/P account:
There are several implications of this:
- Outlook.com is becoming a kind of web based multi-protocol client just like Skype application itself! (see my complete blog on this)
- If you have your Google/Gmail account associated with your Outlook.com/Microsoft Account, and you are logging into Skype with Microsoft Account, why couldn't this functionality eventually be brought to the Skype client itself? So Skype to Google would be very possible in exactly the same way Skype to Facebook is currently working.
But isn’t XMPP federation going away with Google Hangouts, the new app that will eventually replace Google Talk? Yes, IM/P between Google Hangouts app and contacts federated to Google via XMPP federation will not work…BUT…conversations between Google Talk and those same contacts WILL continue to work for some time. (not end of life announced yet) Since Outlook.com is really like a 3rd party Google Talk client this continues to work. Google has noted that 3rd party Google Talk client support will not be cut off at this time.
So it appears that Microsoft is just extending it’s existing strategy of having Skype and Outlook.com be mutli-protocol “clients” that login in to various other services like Skype, Facebook, Outlook.com/Live Messenger, and now Google. Perhaps Microsoft just took a page out of the success of the many popular multi-protocol clients out there and decided to do it themselves? That’s what it looks like. <end>
Hangouts Won’t Hangout With Other Messaging Vendors: Google’s New Unified Messaging Drops Open XMPP/Jabber Interop
Skype becoming a multi-protocol client?