Several free email providers like Yahoo! and Gmail come bundled with an imbedded internet relay chat client which allow for real time texting and messaging. Yahoo! and Gmail restrict users to only chatting with other users who are in the same network. Using a third-party instant message aggregator can help you overcome the Yahoo! and Gmail restrictions.
Yahoo! and Gmail Talk
Yahoo! Messenger allows contacts from the following networks to be added to Yahoo! Messenger: other Yahoo! accounts, Facebook, Lotus Sametime, LCS and Windows Live (MSN). Google Talk will only allow users with a Gmail account to be added to your chat contacts. Users wanting to combine their Gmail and Yahoo! contacts should look to a third-party software tool for a solution.
Combining Instant Messaging Accounts
There are several instant messenger aggregators that are capable of combining contacts from both Yahoo! and Gmail along with several other networks like Jabber, AIM and ICQ to name a few. In addition, many aggregators also provide tools for combining multiple email and social network accounts for PC, Mac and mobile users. Web-enabled applications do not require any software and can be launched directly from a browser.
Options for Combining Accounts
Digsby for PC users combines IM, email, and social network functionality into one application. Digsby combines contacts from AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ, Google Talk and Jabber. The company has announced that a version for Mac and Linux will be coming soon. Interested parties can sign up for email updates for the upcoming release through Digsby’s website. For Mac, Adium users can choose to chat among twenty different social network and messenger accounts including Yahoo! and Gmail. eBuddy offers both a web and mobile client to help users bring together messenger accounts for MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Google Talk, Facebook, ICQ and Myspace. Trillian offers a robust internet relay chat client for both Mac and PC users and provides a mobile solution for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Trillian for Web allows you to use the Trlllian service through a Web browser.
How They Work
After downloading and installing the application, a computer-based client works by prompting you to enter the username and password for your Yahoo! and Gmail accounts. After your credentials have been validated, the client will load all of your contacts into the same window. You can kick off a chat as if you were still in Yahoo! or Gmail. The concept is the same for mobile-based applications. Web-enabled applications are a bit different because your computer or phone is not hosting the client software; all your interactions with the application will be through a Web browser. You will need to create an account with the service provider to be able to consolidate your Yahoo! and Gmail contacts. After the one-time account setup, proceed to add the username and password for your Yahoo! and Gmail accounts and you are ready to share contacts.