Do you do a lot of instant messaging? I have started to do more now that Google Talk is built into Gmail. The beauty of that is that I don’t have to install a client and it is available anywhere I have a browser. If I want one of the other services then I need to install their client or something like Trillian that logs me into everything at the same time. Still a bit of a drag because I have to log in and have things running in the back ground. The browser is with me everywhere.
Fine, well and good you say but but what about all my old friends on AIM or Yahoo! or MSN?
If you are willing to spend a few minutes getting things set up once, I am going to show you how you can have truly portable instant messaging for all your services and all from within your browser.
This wizardry is done through servers called Jabber Transports. Cool thing is, you don’t have to know or care how they work, just how to access them.
First you need another client for Jabber. Unfortunately Gtalk just won’t cut it for this step as they have no way to access the transport browser. I use Psi because it is easy so those are the instructions you’ll read below. You are only going to need this client for the initial set up. The magic here is that you are going to do this on one computer and it will instantly transfer to any other computer you install Google Talk on or any browser you run Gmail (with its built in chat client). It’s all very cool and it’s not hard if you stay with me.

Install Psi then set it up to talk to GTalk
1. Download Psi and run the Psi installer
2. On the ‘Choose Components’ screen, deselect Automatic Startup so Psi doesn’t run automatically every time you start Windows

3. When the set up finishes, select Run Psi
4. Close the tips window
5. Enter a name for your account in the Name field (I used ‘GoogleTalk’). Also, make sure that the box next to Register new account is NOT checked.

6. In the Jabber id field, enter your Google id and be sure to put the @gmail.com after it. If you have Google aps for you domain, you’ll need to put in the correct domain.

7. Open the Connections tab, check all the boxes and enter talk.google.com in the host field. The port is 5223.

8. Click Save
9. In the Psi main window, click the drop-down at the bottom that is currently labeled ‘offline’ and select On-Line
10. Enter you password when prompted
11. You’ll then be logged in and should see a lit of all your contacts from GTalk.

Browse for a transport server that does what you need
1. Go to https://www.xmpp.net/servers and look around for a transport server.
- for example, if you want to use Google Talk to talk to people on AIM, you need one that provides a transport to AIM. It will say something like “AIM Transport: Users can register for gateway communications to AIM”
I am going to use jaim.at in my examples

Configure the transports that let you talk with other IM services
1. In Psi, click the little trident icon on the bottom left
2. Click Service Directory

3. In the Address bar, type in the name of the transport server you found above
4. Click the Browse button
5. Pick the Transport you want, in this case AIM, and right-click and click register
6. Enter your username and password on that service

7. Close the Service Discovery window
8. You’ll get a message in Psi about the new service wanting to talk to you. Click Add/Auth

9. You’ll then get another message saying you’ve been authorized
10. You’ll then get similar messages for each of your contacts in AIM (or which ever service you are using) but you only have to go through each once

That’s it. You can exit and close down Psi. You aren’t going to need it again until you want to add another transport.
Now the fun starts! All those old friends from AIM are now available to you in GTalk and, even better, within your Gmail client in any web browser. Oh, and if you have chats being saved in Gmail (in Gmail, settings – chat – Save chat history in my Gmail account) , this method will save all your chats, even those with the other services.
There is a caveat…if you want to add a new friend from another service, you have to add them as username@transport so, from above, it would be username@aim.jaim.at.
Happy chatting!

UPDATE: 07MAY08

These page originally appeared here when I was using Blogger. Moved here since WP is much much better.

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