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The authors consider the problem of interconnecting a simple type of social network: Instant Messaging services. Today, users are members of various IM communities such as AOL, Yahoo, and MSN. Users often want to engage in conversations that span multiple IM communities, since their friends may use competing IM clients. While client-side solutions exist in the form of Trillian and Pidgin, they require multiple logins and offer a subset of the features present in official IM clients. They propose a different solution based on translating gateways that only requires a single login and allows users to keep their existing IM clients. They claim that such interconnection empowers users and encourages the development of third-party applications.
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