Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Google Talk, XMPP and Mobile IM...

Google Talk is an interesting development. The instant messaging component is based on XMPP (aka “Jabber”). In a way, this seems a “natural” choice for Google, given their strong interest in XML-based technologies for all kinds of services. XMPP uses XML-streaming. You can think of this as an open (editable) XML document to which the client and server append chunks of XML (“Stanzas”) for the purposes of exchanging messages and presence information.

In the mobile world, XMPP competes with other IM standards, notably SIMPLE and IMPS, of which only IMPS (formerly Wireless Village) was written from scratch for the mobile environment. However, it seems that IMPS will fade away and be replaced by SIMPLE, at least as far as the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) is concerned. The rationale for this evolution is that, being SIP based, SIMPLE fits in nicely with the overall services architecture for next generation mobile (and fixed) networks, which will be based on 3GPP’s IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).

However, does that mean that XMPP has no place in the mobile environment? Far from it. Firstly, XMPP and SIMPLE are interoperable, at least for basic IM functionality, so XMPP can still be used within an IMS environment. XMPP has a strong following already, including France Telecom (which includes Orange and Wanadoo). XMPP also has a strong presence in the Enterprise IM market. Now that Google has adopted XMPP, along with a stated intention to federate with other XMPP services, there is clearly a renewed gravitational pull towards XMPP.

However, I think that there are other ways that XMPP could prove useful specifically in the mobile arena. I will post on this later.

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