Google Talk, the instant messaging tool from Google, is one of the favorite instant communication tools for those stuck in the office from 9-5. Unlike Facebook, Google-based services are usually not blocked by IT departments in offices, and the use of Google in the corporate environment is normally embraced — especially as more companies adopt Google as a platform to manage their own inter-office communications. A few years ago, Google announced a partnership with AOL which made it possible for people to chat with AIM users right from inside Gmail. Now, Google, along with AOL, makes it possible to chat with AOL contacts who use AOL IM (or AIM) across a variety of Google services: not just Gmail or Google Talk on the desktop, but also iGoogle, Orkut, and Google Talk on Android phones.
Previously, if you wanted to chat with AIM buddies in Gmail, you needed an AIM account to connect with your friends cross-platform. Now, you no longer need an AIM account. Instead you just add your AIM buddies the same way you add Gmail contacts to your chat list, by using their AOL screennames. For example, you would add their AIM screenname in form of email@example.com. Also, AIM users will now be able to add Google contacts to their AIM chat clients, too.
This also means that if you’ve been chatting with your AIM buddies in Gmail by signing into your AIM account, you’ll no longer be able to sign into your AIM account from within Gmail chat since you can now add AIM contacts directly. If you happen to chat with several AIM buddies via Gmail’s chat, Google and AOL realize importing the contacts could be a bit of pain. To make this easier, AOL has created a tool to import your AIM buddies to your Gmail account without needing to add them individually.