A new IM product is coming from MySpace (what isn’t?). This is according to a post today from Om Malik. Here are the pages on MySpace. AOL is the IM leader, followed by Yahoo! and MSN, with Google a distant fourth. MySpace IM could ramp pretty quickly because the site has such critical mass among the IM demographic. It represents a potentially powerful ad/promotional vehicle for Fox — we’ll see.
According to a late 2004 study (now likely outdated), the folks at Pew found that more than four in 10 online Americans IM, for a population then of about 53 million in the U.S. About one-fourth then used IM at work.
Paradoxically there’s momentum toward interoperability, but launches like MySpace IM also point to general resistance toward open IM (not withstanding alliances like Yahoo!-MSN) and reflect an effort to maintain a "walled garden" around users. Companies such as Meebo are trying to address (leverage) the proliferation of incompatible IM systems while they’re still incompatible. Now they can add MySpace to the list.
Here are some November 2005 data on IM trends/usage from an AOL-commissioned study. The research found that 38 percent of online consumers are sending as many (or more) IMs than e-mails. One-third of IM users send mobile IMs or text messages from their cellphones at least once a week. And, generally, IM usage is trending upward.
Google has merged IM and e-mail and I would expect to see all the majors do so. The distinctions between IM and e-mail are somewhat artificial anyway.
Expect a mobile version of MySpace IM to be rolled out quickly.