Meebo, the leading Web-based IM service, has reached its current level of popularity by providing Web access to popular IM interfaces like AOL, MSN, and GTalk. Meanwhile, in parallel, there has been another growing segment of instant messaging taking hold in popular social networks. It was only a matter of time before Meebo extended its functionality to embrace this growing market - and now it's happened with Meebo's Facebook and MySpace IM integration.
Like the IM services already accessible from Meebo, Facebook and MySpace IM accounts are now available from within Meebo, allowing users to simultaneously chat with friends from both networks, while also having access to other IM contacts.
The MySpace team worked with Meebo to assist with its integration. The Facebook integration relies on Facebook Chat for Pidgin, an open source IM project.
With the addition of these massive user bases, Meebo becomes - arguably - the premiere service for managing all of your IM conversations in one place. That's impressive in and of itself. But it also hints at something even more interesting for the future with Meebo's Community IM initiative.
What's Community IM? It's a Meebo project that will introduce Web-based IM features to a number of community oriented sites over the coming months, allowing users of those sites to engage in IM conversations when visiting their favorite Web sites.
What's more, it's a concept that's strikingly similar to Facebook's chat implementation. And that's where adding Facebook access gets really interesting.
With Community IM, Facebook users - who are already familiar with concept of logging into a Web site and chatting with friends - will now have access to their Facebook friends through Meebo when visiting any number of sites on the Web. Same goes for MySpace. That means sharing something with Facebook or MySpace contacts becomes as easy as firing off an IM message through Meebo. No more bookmarklets or cutting, logging in, and pasting. Now, it's as simple as sending an IM.
So, without much fanfare - and much in the same way Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, and the Open Stack are extending the reach of the social graph - it looks like Meebo just moved the Web-based IM conversations of millions of users and their contacts beyond the walled gardens of social networks to the Web at large. And that's pretty exciting.
To try the new Meebo Facebook and MySpace access, log into your Meebo account and add the new accounts to your profile. Or visit Meebo and log into your Facebook and MySpace accounts from there.