Ok, there has been lots of hype over the last few hours about the latest so-called innovation from Google regarding its already available integration between GMail and Google Talk, although it will take a few more weeks before it hits the rest of the world, since it is just available in the US apparently. Mind you that just this morning I saw it already available in my GMail account so it may get there eventually before we would have expected. Either way, it is coming if it is not already there. The important thing though is the fact that for the first time we have got a large enterprise putting together two different Internet environments to get the best out of them: Instant Messaging and e-mail and provide a new platform for people to connect, collaborate, share knowledge, exchange information and so forth. Indeed, I have been weblogging about this over at elsua @ ITtoolbox; we have got the unique opportunity to witness how, for the first time, how two of the most frequent activities we all get to carry out first thing in the morning are now walking hand in hand next to each other. I am sure that you would agree with this: the first thing you check in the morning is, perhaps, your e-mail, and then your buddy list to check who is online and who isn’t. Then you wander elsewhere (i.e. RSS Newsfeeds, your weblog(s), etc.).
So it would appear as if Google has done it once again; keeping ahead with the rest of the pack in enabling people to collaborate in a seamless way putting together several of the most important components available on the Internet today to help facilitate those interactions / connections: IM and e-mail. Well, I am afraid to disappoint a few folks, but this time around Google is not the first one of the pack in this, potentially crucial, collaborative space. And that is why I wanted to create this weblog post because apparently people seem to be forgetting things as they happen. And for quite some time ago.
Indeed, quite a few years ago, there was a company, IBM, who decided that this same integration of e-mail and Instant Messaging may have proved to be very beneficial in order to provide some new ground for people to expand their borders and help them collaborate much closer and perhaps much more effectively. So a bunch of IBMers decided to get working on a new product that over time, and throughout the years, has matured to be one of those indispensable tools for those of us who get to enjoy it during the course of the day. Indeed, Notesbuddy was born over five years ago to provide us, knowledge workers, with the possibility of collaborating much closer not only making use of e-mail but also IM. Since then lots of things have happened with this particular e-mail/IM client but overall it has kept true in nature to itself by allowing its end-users to make extensive use of the different e-mail and IM capabilities. Pretty much you are able to do the same stuff that you will be able to go with Google Talk and GMail, except that with Notesbuddy you have got the opportunity of integrating it with other tools, i.e. Lotus Notes, POP mail, etc. But you would be able to see your contacts online, your e-mails, your groups and so forth and still be able to collaborate with them in a seamless, yet very powerful way, since the memory foot print is almost non existent.
I know that many folks out there would say that Notesbuddy actually requires a license after the 90 days of trial but I can honestly say that is time more than enough for anybody to evaluate if it would be a worth while option for yourself or not to continue making use of it. The key message here though is that innovation in this particular space has already taken place and people seem to be quite content with the results so far (As can be seen over at the Notesbuddy reviews). But don’t worry, innovation does not stop there. With the upcoming release of Lotus Sametime 7.5, which I have mentioned elsewhere, we will be able to see where we would be taking things further. Based on some common features put together from both Notesbuddy and IBM Community Tools (Perhaps I will talk some more in a separate weblog post about this awesome piece of software), Lotus Sametime 7.5 will eventually be able to connect not only with other Sametime end-users but also with AOL, Yahoo! and even Google Talk end-users, all of that at the same time and from a single IM client, as has been described all over the place in different media.
Thus here we go, perhaps witnessing for the first time an interesting global IM interoperability with some of the major IM players out there and still keeping in mind that integrating all of that with your e-mail is a good thing. Actually, it is a very good thing !