I'm a generally tolerant person, but there are some things that really, really piss me off. And on this particular issue, I know I'm not alone. Not by a long shot.
The Yahoo Messenger team's habit of screwing with the protocol every once in a while is one of those things. As CNet Asia reports in Users fume over Yahoo-Trillian scuffle, they made a change last night the did quite an excellent job of pissing off anyone using a third party IM client, not just Trillian.
The media likes to frame it as a big guy vs. little guy story, but that's really not what it's about at all. From my point of view, it's about having your head buried in the sand so far that reality doesn't really enter the picture.
I haven't kept track of how many times the protocol has changed in the last few years. But what I have noticed is that the elapsed time between a protocol change and when the third party clients (Gaim, Trillian, etc) adapt is quite short. It's like fighting the Borg. They just keep adapting. The messenger group randomizes their shield harmonics, but it doesn't help for long.
But hey, it supposedly stops IM spam before it happens. (I haven't had a single IM spam in about 3 years and my Yahoo ID has been public all along. Maybe I'm the only one?)
The more I think about how many of my friends get pissed off and end up cursing Yahoo's name, the more it bugs me. Often times they take it out on me, so I can't help but to notice.
Screwing with the messenger protocol...
- doesn't work. (Witness the rapid adaption of 3rd party clients.)
- is bad for soceity. (Because it cuts friends off from each other.)
- is bad for business. (Because it ends up giving users a good reason to hate Yahoo.)
- is bad for artists. (Okay, this one does not apply.)
- is a bad business move for Yahoo. (Because IM networks need to figure out how to interoperate not keep each other out. Isn't communication the whole point?! Or is it segregation?)
The simple fact is, and this goes for ALL the major IM networks, that some of the third party clients are simply better than those they offer (especially on non-Windows platforms). These clients speak to multiple networks and make users lives eaiser (imagine that!). They sport tabbed conversations and some users like that. They're scriptable and easy to extend. That means plugins and other cool toys.
But what do I know? I've only been using this technology with my friends every day for the last five years or so.
The only solution I can see for this involves Google. They came in and shook up the Web Mail "industry" (thereby enabling the Internet Hard Disk). They could launch a Google Messenger which is built upon an open standard and API. Knowing them, it'd be Jabber.
I think you can probably figure the rest out from there...
And, yes, I realize that I'm far from being the first person to suggest this.
Posted by jzawodn at June 24, 2004 10:20 PM