Trillian, Competition, and Chat Widgets

24 06 2007

Trillian Updates

The folks at Trillian appear to be pretty busy as of late:

CNET Webware 100 Winner - congrats, Trillian!

They won a CNET Webware 100 award. Also, they have released version 3.1.6.0 and have just released build 46.

Competition

Pidgin Imeem

Trillian Astra Meebo

All this is great news for Trillian. Only one problem. They aren’t the only big boy in the multi-protocol instant messaging client space anymore. Products such as Meebo, Imeem, and Pidgin, (formerly known as Gaim) are also very popular these days. Multi-protocol instant messaging is perfect for those that do not have the patience nor the time (not that anyone should bother) to load up MSN, AIM, Yahoo, Miranda and many others and then try to switch between programs and have their buddy lists all over the place. Rolling all your im account into a single platform is great, but doesn’t get rid of the recent invasion of the AIM new bots again as I previously posted.

Trillian is hard at work on their new product, Trillian Astra. It is currently in Alpha mode (you can try signing up for Alpha testing here. Astra boasts many new features such as a much needed client integration with Google Talk and MySpace IM (officially in beta), as well as a Trillian web client.

Web Widgets / Buttons

Trillian Mini

Trillian Mini, a sweet looking widget, enables you to show users your online status, what you’re listening to, etc.

Skype has already had this functionality down with their Skype buttons with status for quite a while now. I currently use this button on my website.

Meebo is also fantastic on this with MeeboMe widget. You can take your existing username, paste a line of code on to your site, and have a Flash embedded Meebo chat going with any users on your site, right within the site!





AIM new bots again

13 06 2007

The folks at AOL are at it again. If you’ve signed on to AOL Instant Messenger, or any meta contact messenger like Trillian or Pidgin within the last day, you have undoubtedly noticed several new AOL bots.

What’s a bot, you ask? In the instant messaging sense, it is more specifically referred to as a chatterbot. Chatterbots have been around for some time now, with one of the more popular ones – SmarterChild dating itself back to 2001. They are systems employing a scripts that attempt to hold human conversations with users. The programmers usually put in some fun elements of these bots (i.e. if you said something off-color, smarterchild would tell you to behave, etc).

So people got used to smarterchild. Even users that had no buddies now had someone to talk to.

Then, AOL mysteriously loaded in MovieFone (self-explanatory) and ShoppingBuddy. These really started to smell like a sellout.

But now, hey – we’ve been blessed with 3 new bots dropped in on our lists:

 

Prof Gilzot

Prof Gilzot – this guy has no sense of humor. At least on smarterchild you could test his limits and ask him odd questions. The Prof is a straight up fellow. Say something different, and he just gives you a list of items to choose from. In any case, he has quizzes and things like that to offer you. I think I liked smarterchild’s wit, charm, and a good game of hangman over this guy.

WSJ – ok this one makes sense. You like the Wall Street Journal online. You like instant messaging. But them together and you’ve got WSJ. This is acceptable, but again doesn’t appeal to the entire community. Still, sending an IM to WSJ, typing news, and finding the news I want is still pretty slow in comparison to going to Google News RSS or straight out website.

 

Sharethisdotcom

Sharethisdotcom – I’ve written to this guy a few times. No response. Looks like I’m not alone in testing this out – PC World had the same problem.

 

 

spleak

Spleak – this is by far the most odd. I guess it wasn’t enough to make bots have clever things to say. Now, they have to have this whole persona. From the spleak website:

“My name is Spleak and I’m a 21-year-old virtual girl currently living in the heart of San Francisco, California.”

Ok, this is getting a bit scary. What’s the point of this bot? Every guy has a date now? Come on. But to each their own.