Google is not the only one touting social web integration in one of its products, in fact, most of its competitors, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL, raised their hands saying "we had it first." AOL even went one step further and announced a couple of new features in partnership with Facebook, notably missing from Google Buzz. First up, AOL is integrating Facebook Chat in AIM so that users of the popular instant messaging service can get in touch with their Facebook friends without having to visit the site. The second announcement was the integration of Lifestream, a sort of Google Buzz equivalent, in AOL Mail via the AIM plugin.
"To help you keep on top of your social network, we've added Lifestream to the Mail AIM plug-in. Lifestream not only allows you to get updates from all your social networks, but also to easily publish your status and broadcast it to your Buddies," the company announced
on the AOL Mail Blog. "View updates from your friends, no matter which social network they frequent, including Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. Flexible privacy settings keep you in control of how you and your social network interact," the announcement read.
AOL has launched Lifestream a while back and, on the face of it, does have a lot in common with Google Buzz
. It enables you to see what your friends are saying across various online proprieties but also post directly to many of them, something missing from Buzz for now. Lifestream was integrated into AOL's main instant messenger client, AIM, similar to what Yahoo did later
on but it made it into the AOL Mail web client not as a dedicated tool but as a feature in the AIM chat plug in.
A lot more significant, at least for some users and certainly for Facebook, is the integration of Facebook Chat in AIM. The social network has been emphasizing its chat product for a while now, most recently by making it a default component in the left sidebar in the latest redesign
. Users have been able to access Facebook Chat outside the site using Meebo since summer, but AIM is the first major IM to add support. Considering Yahoo's tightening ties with Facebook
, expect Yahoo Messenger to add support for Facebook Chat in the coming months.
AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)
is available for download here