The web-based instant messaging service Meebo announced support for Facebook Chat earlier this month. Simultaneously, the Mountain View company shared their status as the first launch partner of an alpha version of Facebook Connect + Chat integration. Back in January, the Facebook team requested that meebo remove support until the service connects to the social network in a way that is compatible with their log-in security protocols. Despite popular conjecture that Facebook would not be working with meebo, it turns out that they are eager to partner. What began with proprietary Instant Messaging programs running at once, bogging down user workflow and system performance, has slowly improved. Around 2000, multiple chat clients could run on a single application. Instead of running AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, &c. Messenger, these new programs provided an interface where usernames and passwords were taken for each applicable chat network.

Trillian, Adium, and others received some backlash from the proprietary networks, and blockage efforts came under way. AOL, and later Yahoo and Microsoft, attempted to block Trillian in 2002. Patches were quickly offered to circumvent these measures.

The measures taken by AOL and the others are examples of a general lack of cooperation by major clients that has delayed the realization of instant messaging potential. IM network advanced features such as video chat, file transfer, encryption and others are not supported on all multiple-client applications. With personal computer and mobile browser-based programs such as meebo, the possible penetration of IM utilization is at an all-time high.

According to TechCrunch, IM should take its cue from developments in SMS. From an in-network service to an open-network technology, skyrocketing implementation has led to user options like receiving directory information, ordering delivery, or interacting with a reality television show, all because of open-network support. IM has this potential, too.