Gmail mashes up AIM
The Gmail genie has come out with a new trick again. Yesterday Gmail dropped in an AIM integration service. Now you have the option to sign in to your AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) account to chat with your AIM buddies from Gmail. Your AIM buddies will populate your Contacts list, and are searchable just like your Google Talk contacts.
Gmail uses Open AIM to provide this feature. AIM, colored labels, group chat and rich emoticons only work in the latest version of Gmail, currently available for Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2. It seems to work fine with Safari as well for me.
As always you can control the size of the chat box to Tiny (5 contacts) Small, Medium or Large. Another cool feature useful for AIM is the option to show your Most Popular contacts as opposed to All Contacts in the chat widget which comes in handy. I'm not sure what logic is used to mark a contact as popular. Once you sign into your AIM account you stay logged in even across web browsers.