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Collaborating with "others"

Yahoo and Microsoft began testing interoperability between their public instant messaging services today.  Specifically, users of Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger with Voice can IM each other.  This may not sound like much, but it allows two communities which have been separate to conflate (for those keeping count, this involves ca. 350 million users).

Users of public IM services have generally had to maintain multiple accounts so they could communicate with business acquaintances and friends on one service or the other.  Now, users no longer have to maintain multiple personalities (accounts) (this may indeed reduce the 350 million number given duplication) and can see presence awareness information, share emoticons, view offline messages, and add contacts from either service to their buddy lists.  

Right now users in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada (English and French), China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States (English and Spanish) can participate in the interoperability beta test by going to either Yahoo or Microsoft .

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