I recently read the WordPress.com news post about the new Meebo IM widget, for WordPress.com blogs.
I have to say, the ‘features’ of this widget just plain pissed me off. Why did meebo create ANOTHER layer of abstraction for their users? Something like this would have been pretty awesome for the general IM community.
Remember, I don’t use Meebo, I never have, nor do I know any Meebo users. If I make a mistake please correct me, as this is strictly an opinion. I have no personal need for Meebo, so maybe one of you knows something that I don’t.
In order to make my point, I have to go a bit into the past.
What is Meebo?
Meebo is a gateway IM service. It’s meant to give AIM/Y!/MSN/ICQ/Jabber to without the ability to run an actual IM client the ability to communicate with the outside world. It’s a great idea (in theory), because they didn’t create YET ANOTHER closed (or even open, doesn’t matter) discussion protocol.
So, they’re enabling people the use of their AIM/Jabber/etc. accounts they already have, anywhere where they have a relatively modern web browser.
So could someone please tell me why you’re REQUIRED to be logged into Meebo in order to actually converse with visitors? This seems awfully redundant.
In reading through their Press Release, I see that they offer ‘live statistical data organized by widget’, and the ability to ‘engage in private conversations directly from your web page or wordpress weblog’. (No, those are not exact quotes, please click the Press Release link to read it all.)
So this is great, just great.
Whenever you’re at home, using your prefered IM client, now you need to log on to their web site (which is a problem for protocols disallowing multiple connections like Y! and MSN) in order to chat through your website…
Surely Meebo could have just played proxy (like they already do) and allowed conversations simply by being logged onto any network, using any client…
Statistical software is cool, that’s best left up to Meebo’s website. But discussion? Give me a freaking break! The level of redundancy (largely due in part to proprietary IM networks, admittedly) is just strangely ironic. I absolutely loathe Meebo for releasing this ‘feature’ that locks you into a specific configuration/software.
This is one of those pieces of software that I call ‘specific use’. It’s GREAT for the mobile users, and those will be using Meebo anyways… but for the rest of us? Seriously, great way to go after more users Meebo. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeally smart.