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I don't know much about IM. All my life I had a Hotmail account, just like all my friends, and used MSN / Windows Live Messenger, so everything was fine. But recently I've changed to Gmail. The automatic email forwarding from Hotmail to Gmail was straightforward, but I still log on to Windows Live Messenger with my old account.

I have some questions about this: If I log in to an IM client with my Gmail account, can I talk to people who have me under my Hotmail account without them noticing at all? More importantly, should I bother? Is there any advantage to chatting from Gmail instead of Hotmail?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you use an app like Pidgin, Trillian, Digsby (or Adium on the Mac) you will be able to use both protocols (and Yahoo and others) and it will be fairly transparent (at least to you) which you're using.

If you're looking to bridge things, so that your contacts think you're reyjavikvi@hotmail.com logged into MSN, but actually you're reyjavikvi@gmail.com logged into GTalk, then something at least will need to monitor the MSN and translate the traffic for you. There is talk of a protocol called SIMPLE, but I don't think any of the single-platform apps offer it yet.

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Just by means of comment, I think Unsliced meant to say "Trillian" instead of "Trillium" Its a great app too I used to use. –  Dillie-O Feb 5 '10 at 15:44
    
Thanks. Just one more thing: Is Google IM better? I switched to Gmail because it's much more powerful and easier to use than Hotmail, but does the same hold for IM? –  Javier Badia Feb 5 '10 at 15:56
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I would say no, that the feature base of Google Talk is less than say MSN Messenger, Yahoo, etc. Google Talk does not have games or any of that within its app. It does have some photo and video posting/sharing. Its simple, and powerful in its own right. In general I'd say that the instant messaging as a whole is on the decline, as people are using Facebook and Twitter more for their messaging needs amongst friends. –  Dillie-O Feb 5 '10 at 16:06
    
Thanks - yes I think I was thinking ahead to Adium while typing ... –  Unsliced Feb 5 '10 at 16:31
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Yes it's possible. I've studied that before. I forget everything but I can give you the name and where to search. Jabber lets you do someting called : Gateways

Look at that. It will let you connect to MSN.

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The short answer is no. Each instant messaging network likes to use its own protocol, or at least keeps its own "group" in place and try to get you to bring your friends over to it. Its kind of a competition thing. The only exception I can see to this is AIM/ICQ, since they're both owned by the same folks now.

However, most of these IM apps have opened up their chat protocols so that third party tools could be written to access them. What this has done is opened the door to folks to create their own applications that aggregate all of these chat networks into a single hub for you to interact with. You typically dont't have the feature base that a single IM client provides, but you gain the benefit of being able to view them all simultaneously, without having to fire up multiple chat client apps at once.

You might look into an online application called Meebo, which would allow you to log in to your GTalk and your MSN Messenger at the same time. Its web based, so you can access it from nearly anywhere, and quite handy when you have multiple chat platforms that you want to keep dibs on.

Meebo also comes built in to another web app called threadsy, which is awesome if you're trying to collate your facebook/twitter/gmail type stuff too.

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MSN/YIM are compatible now. –  Macha Feb 5 '10 at 16:18
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