When I finished setting-up this blog, one of the first things I did was change my IM nickname to “bradt.ca” hoping that my friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintainces would visit this site when they saw me in their IM contact list. And it worked.
But what happens when I don’t post anything for a while? The next few times my friend checks my site, nothing has changed and eventually they stop checking for updates. But what if I could suggest an RSS feed that would be attached to my nickname in their contact list?
If you are a user of Instant Messaging (Yahoo!, MSN, ICQ, AIM, etc) you may have noticed some IM nicknames like “Jane – Going out tonight, dinner and a movie.” People often want to direct anouncements or statements to people in their contact list, but lacking the platform they resort to extending the purpose of their limited size nickname. But wouldn’t it be great if you could say a little bit more? That’s where RSS will come in. Imagine if you could see the latest entrys in your friend’s blog just by hovering over their name in your contact list and that the time since the last post was situated next to their nickname. Firstly this would encourage people to have blogs and would also encourage people to post more frequently.
Unfortunately none of the major IM companies (Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL, ICQ) have invested in blogging so this feature may not appear for some time in the core IM applications. However, there are 3rd party IM applications such as Trillian available that have already incorporated some RSS, although they have not reached the level of integration I described above. There is however, another big company who has already invested in blogging (they bought Blogger.com) and who is rumoured to be working on an IM system: Google.
I am envisioning a highly advanced Google Messenger application with tight integration with both Google’s Gmail and Blogger.com. For instance, say you want to announce something to your Google Messenger list, you could just open a simple message window in the Google Messenger and post a new entry in your web log. Then “(-1m)” could be displayed next to your name in people’s lists indicating you have updated your blog less than a minute ago.
Have I perhaps uncovered a small part of Google’s master plan for world domination? The answer is almost certainly yes.