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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Solve the Instant Messaging Problem? 456

Artem Tashkinov writes: The XKCD comics has posted a wonderful and exceptionally relevant post in regard to the today's situation with various instant messaging solutions. E-mail has served us well in the past, however, it's not suitable for any real-time communications involving video and audio. XMPP was a nice idea, however, it has largely failed except for a low number of geeks who stick to it. Nowadays, some people install up to seven instant messengers to be able to keep up with various circles of people. How do you see this situation being resolved?

People desperately need a universal solution which is secure, decentralized, fault tolerant, not attached to your phone number, protects your privacy, supports video and audio chats and sending of files, works behind NATs and other firewalls and has the ability to send offline messages. I believe we need a modern version of SMTP. [How would you solve the instant messaging problem?]
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Solve the Instant Messaging Problem?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:22PM (#54033149)

    If everyone stopped messaging on insecure lines, the problem would solve itself.

  • by LionKimbro ( 200000 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:25PM (#54033159) Homepage

    "People desperately need a universal solution which is secure, decentralized, fault tolerant, not attached to your phone number, protects your privacy, supports video and audio chats and sending of files, works behind NATs and other firewalls and has the ability to send offline messages."

    I don't see the sense in that. There's so much evidence to the contrary.

    May as well say people desperately need a universal language. May I interest you in Esperanto?

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "May I interest you in Esperanto?"

      Too much work. I'd prefer a babelfish.
    • Nowadays, some people install up to seven instant messengers to be able to keep up with various circles of people.

      Having different buckets for different circles of people is a feature, not a bug.

      From the perspective of an advertiser (or governments), having all my coworkers, bosses, family members, sexual pursuits, friends, hobby-related friends, fake farmville friends, share the same platform would be a huge boon, but to me, as an individual user, it wouldn't be.

      Plus, there is also the fact that on Android at least, I can access the same base of messages and contacts through different clients if desired, thus avoiding

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        it stops being fun when you have 3+ apps that handle communication for a single project. it becomes a bother, really it does.

        especially when you want to move devices or need to move devices often.. installing all that crap. whats worse, maybe you need to use multiple private instances of the same.. like having 10 slacks that you need to be part of and everyone expecting you to react to everyone of those. it's not good at all.

        though the problem becomes more like that you have 10 telephones that you need to b

    • by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @02:57AM (#54034733)

      While some of the list of security features is not that important to most people, being able to have a chat client that Just Works is.

      I miss Trillian from ... a decade ago? Has it been that long? It was basically a container program with plugins for the at the time widely used chat protocols: It did AIM, ICQ, YIM, MSN, IRC, Jabber, likely a bunch of other ones I never used. All in one reasonably light-weight program. Click it in your taskbar, check if the friend you're looking for is online, and click his name. That was all the user had to think about.

  • Obligatory XKCD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Imrik ( 148191 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:27PM (#54033175) Homepage

    Obligatory XKCD [xkcd.com]

    • Re:Obligatory XKCD (Score:5, Informative)

      by alexo ( 9335 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:33PM (#54033609) Journal

      Multi-protocol clients are good stop-gap measures that do not require additional protocols.

      If you're a developer that likes working on open-source projects, Pidgin / Adium / Libpurple could use your help.

      • Except those multi-protocol clients can't access the services that most people use now (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, Snapchat, etc.) and even the ones that used to be their cornerstones (Yahoo, AIM, MSN) have either shut down completely or closed off their API's to 3rd party apps. This is most likely so they can shove advertising down your throat by forcing you to their native app.

        • I am signed into Skype using the third-party SkypeWeb plug-in [github.com] for Pidgin, which supports the JSON protocol that Skype for Web uses.

        • Re:Obligatory XKCD (Score:4, Informative)

          by alexo ( 9335 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @10:29PM (#54034075) Journal

          I am currently running Pidgin 2.12 with Jabbber, Skype, Hangouts, AIM, Steam and Facebook active. I stopped using Yahoo when they changed to the abomination that their current protocol is, even though Pidgin does support it with a plugin, and MSN is dead since MS migrated everyone to Skype.

          There is also a plugin for Twitter, but I don't use it. So that takes care of 7 out of the 9 that you mentioned, leaving Snapchat and Instagram. If more developers get to work on it, those two could get support as well. Every platforms that works with web-clients can be added.

          • Thank you!

            I'd almost given up with Pidgin because out of my original four (Facebook, MSN, Yahoo, Gtalk/Hangouts) only the latter was left; last time I looked they didn't have a plugin for the new Yahoo, and the Skype support needed you to load the official client (which rather defeated the object, since I'm RAM-limited) -- now it looks as if it doesn't.

            I can see I'll have to install the new version and give those new plugins a try.

            The deliberate and malicious balkanisation of chat protocols -- which at one

  • What problem? I'm glad to not have to have these damn kids on my lawn spamming me with celebrity gossip through Snapchat and Instagram!
  • The answer: XMPP (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chmarr ( 18662 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:34PM (#54033223)

    THere's already a solution for that: XMPP

    The reason we don't see it is that the people that _are_ capable of supporting the necessary services behind it (like... for people that don't run their own servers) is that it's difficult to monetize. AIM dropped open support because too many folk use Adium or Pidgin with it, rather than the AIM client, and thus AOL couldn't push ads down it.

    Google chat uses XMPP essentially... so if you want a well supported platform, that's it right there.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When Google switched to Google Hangouts they dropped XMPP support.

      • by Chmarr ( 18662 )

        Really? Then... why is my Adium client still successfully using Google Chat?

        • Re:The answer: XMPP (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:19PM (#54033543)

          Google hangouts does not support XMPP. Youre using the old google talk service in adium, which you can also still switch to in web gmail. Google talk could (and will) disappear one day - with or without notice. Also I have NEVER gotten the syncing work properly between the two when you try to use the old legacy google talk. Do you have no problems using adium and the webchat (legacy or not) at the same time? Id be curious

          Quote from link below:
          "We announced a new communications product, Hangouts, in May 2013. Hangouts will replace Google Talk and does not support XMPP."

          https://developers.google.com/talk/ [google.com]

        • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

          They dropped XMPP support from the Hangout client but their servers still support it.
          So :
          Hangouts -- Google chat with 3rd party XMPP client : OK
          Google chat with 3rd party XMPP client-- Other XMPP users : OK
          Hangouts -- Other XMPP users : not OK

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:50PM (#54033325)

      XMPP is nice but it suffers from.. I don't know how to put it. It tries to be /too/ universal and and open.

      Meaning that it supports so many deployments and scenarios and options that setting it up quickly becomes a daunting task. It does everything "properly" which means you're stuck in certificate hell.

      It also sucks for mobile. No. It does. Mobile devices depend on the message push services built in to their OS/account framework. (Apple ID or whatever google is calling their crap today) Mobile devices cut apps off after their idle and there's no way for XMPP to deal with that behavior.

      We don't need a new protocol. We need a new service. XMPP can be the base for it but the service will take care of wrangling all the odds and ends of platforms together - Tying togther 3rd party systems and interfaces, unifying auth and login, etc.

      It needs to be simple and it needs to work so well that users gravitate towards it because it's better.

      None of the popular services care about interop because it's in their best interest to keep users in one place. That's why we have competing islands of messaging services - And really.. It's not all that bad as it is. Whatever is better gets used. Whatever is worse gets discarded.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      ... or SIP.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      AIM didnt drop support, AIM just updated their protocol, and pidgin updated its client to match it, with the help of AOL. Their message of obsolescence for the client was strictly about that version of the protocol, and was just poorly worded and bad PR.

  • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:34PM (#54033225)
    First, the fine summary claims that email isn't a good instant messaging system for audio or video. Wrong. It is not a good instant messaging system FOR ANYTHING. Email was not designed to be "instant messaging". Relying on it to be such a system is just ridiculous.

    But more important, the requirements listed are simply out in left field. Video and audio are not instant messaging requirements. Video and audio are both, by their very nature, dealing in linear time. They cannot be "instant".

    Cut back to a more realistic list of "instant messaging" and you have some hope of finding a solution. Perhaps accept that "secure" isn't as necessary, too. If you're dealing with top secret things, or assuming that a message that claims to be from your boss telling you to do something expensive or stupid RIGHT NOW, then maybe you shouldn't be "instant messaging" in the first place. Or at least not trying to shoehorn your critical security issues onto an application that most people don't need anywhere close to that level of security for.

    • Email was not designed to be "instant messaging". Relying on it to be such a system is just ridiculous.

      Depending on the time, place, and network, you could say the same for SMS.

    • by davecb ( 6526 ) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:28PM (#54033583) Homepage Journal

      If you go back to the RFC, you'll find SAML and SOML as smtp keywords: they mean deliver as mail or immediate message (unix write(1)) or as both mail and IM.

      • Unfotunately, "write" assumes a lot of things, and to call it "IM" means you assume there is just one hop from sender to recipient, and that the recipient's SMTP mail server was the system he was logged into. It's hard for an intermediate mail server to SAML or SOML the recipient. The only reasonable assumption about those commands (not "keywords") is that they were intended to work more like "you've got mail" and not "there's a fire in the building, evacuate now". I.e., not "instant messaging".

        Of course,

    • "Perhaps accept that "secure" isn't as necessary, too."
      This message brought to you by your friends at the NSA, CIA, and other organizations that are eager to learn more about you.

      I think there's nothing wrong with considering what security means here. I'd certainly prefer non-technical people conversed electronically using a protocol and free software programs which used encrypted message transfer by default. I don't think it's wise to continue in the older way of doing unencrypted message transfer for ever

  • What we need is interconnecting routers that manage the protocol translation invisibly behind the scenes. Then it wouldn't matter what chat program you used, it would be routed to the correct destination. Of course the entire point of proprietary is to lock in your customers so you don't need to spend resources competing with others.
  • by aberglas ( 991072 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:47PM (#54033313)

    The future is that the various walled gardens will become ever more powerful. So that you can use attachments, search messages, do everything with them that you can do with email. Why would kids want to bother with clunky uncool Email?

    If you want to communicate with my daughters friends, you just by an iPhone so that you can use iMessage...

  • People desperately need a universal solution which is secure, decentralized, fault tolerant, not attached to your phone number, protects your privacy, supports video and audio chats and sending of files, works behind NATs and other firewalls and has the ability to send offline messages.

    So why don't they flock to XMPP then? Anything that there isn't a at least an extension for it?

  • Seriously, it is just like SMTP in that it is a protocol.
    Want it to be a killer protocol? Then extend it for not just IM, but using it for other forms of messaging.
    More importantly, develop the apps to run on all the major platforms (linux, androi, osx, ios, wind, bsd, perhaps mainframe).
    • That may or may not be what Google Wave attempted to do. I never did quite figure it out.

      • yeah, wave was MANY things, except for what I needed.
        Heck, IMPP would be great just for updating addresses, etc amongst friends.
  • by jgfenix ( 2584513 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:53PM (#54033347)
    There is XMPP but there are too many vested interests.
  • matrix.org (Score:5, Informative)

    by alfino ( 173081 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:57PM (#54033367)

    Check out matrix.org. It is not only a rich IM solution with all the bells and whistles, including multi-devices end-to-end encryption, but Matrix also provides for bridges and proxies to other networks, so that it can be used to unify communication.

    It's only 2.5 years old but has already come quite a way!

    https://matrix.org/ [matrix.org]

    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      but Matrix also provides for bridges and proxies to other networks

      It has less network bridges than XMPP has for gateways... And XMPP gateways are already lacking...

  • It's not hard, just don't install them or just the couple you want. Or, just use SMS that works with everyone everywhere...

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Or, just use SMS that works with everyone everywhere

      Except for landline-using members of my family.

  • fake foresight
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:07PM (#54033443) Journal
    If they are they will be willing to pay a dollar or two to buy and install a client and refuse to communicate with ad supported spyware. But privacy is over valued by a small section of techies, who shout very loudly. Most people sell their most private and intimate info about themselves for 25cents off a loaf of bread. For another 25cents they will sell info about you too.
  • Email and voicemail got replaced by text. Long docs via email are fine (I play online games via email), but most of my email nowdays are retailers who think they have a relationship with me but I never look at them unless I need to buy underwear and want a discount. Voicemail? Fuck off. Yeah, I can have android do email to text with hilariously bad results. Fact is, you leave me a voice mail and I pretty much ignore you unless I recognize the sender. Voice mail for me. Long, drawn out voice taking a
    • That sounds like a pretty bad experience with voicemail. With my voicemail, I open the Phone app on my phone and go to the Voicemail tab.
      In here, I get a list of either the number of everyone who has left me a voicemail or their name if they are in my address book.
      I have a blue dot next to the ones I haven't listened to. I tap on the message to listen to it. If I don't do anything, it's then kept, otherwise if I delete it it goes into the Deleted Messages. Want to listen to a message again? Tap on it.

      Couldn

    • Why the hell do you have to go through all that to check a voicemail?

      Mine's smart enough to realize I'm calling from the number it's for. I dial the voice mail number - it's 123 - and get 'You have two messages. First message.' and it plays.

      Yeah, it's still more effort than reading a text, but it's not some Sisyphean opus.

  • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:11PM (#54033479) Homepage Journal

    You could be that guy. You know the one: the one who tells all his friends "This is what I use. Use that to contact me, or e-mail me instead."

    For the most part, I'm that guy. I use one IM program for personal use, and another for professional use (due to corporate mandate), and that's it. The only exception to this is as I do have a Facebook account, if someone wants to message me there I'll accept these messages as well -- when I'm at my computer and logged into the web interface. I have no intention of installing their Messenger client on my mobile devices.

    Then again, I don't feel the need to have people messaging me all day. My messaging contacts list consists of about four immediate family members, and that's it. Guess I'm just not social enough for "social media" and IM (for that matter, I don't own a cell phone either. I go out not to be disturbed by IM and phone calls -- why would I take the annoyance with me?)

    Yaz

  • by Lost Race ( 681080 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:21PM (#54033553)

    The summary gives two good answers to its own question:

    1. Use non-proprietary, open, universal protocols. There's a reason why SMTP works so well -- nobody owns it, everybody supports it. Unfortunately this provides no path for some entrepreneur to take over the Internet and become the next trillionaire, so nobody's going to put much work into making it into an easy one-click app. You may have to do some work yourself, both deploying and promoting your chosen solution.

    2. Install seven apps. This seems to be the solution that most people prefer. If you need to be babysat by corporate nannies, then eat what you're served and enjoy it.

  • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:23PM (#54033557) Homepage

    The problem isnt a technical one, it is a business one. More specifically, every business giving you a "FUCK YOU" attitude when it comes to interoperability with different platforms. Facebook Chat? That was XMPP. Google Chat? (that thing before Hangouts and Voice), also XMPP. Countless other systems out there are XMPP too. It works. It works GREAT. There pretty much wasn't anything wrong with it. Then businesses were like "FUCK YOU", and decided they didn't want to cooperate anymore, and so it died.

    • by alantus ( 882150 )
      Let's be a bit more clear here:

      Google, the biggest company that benefits from the OSS community, whose motto is "don't be evil" were the ones that said "FUCK YOU" to us, after some time of allowing federation.

      Of course, Facebook, another huge benefactor of OSS took advantage of the technology without ever even allowing federation, but that wasn't surprising at all, they pretend even less to not be evil.

      Thankfully email already existed when these companies surged. If it was up to them, email just wouldn't w
  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:29PM (#54033587) Homepage Journal

    We have no instant messaging problem. We just have a robust constellation of competing systems, serving different communities. Why is that as problem?

    - My teen has a Snapchat community, an Instagram community, as Facebook community, a Pinterest community she hides from me, a Twitter community she denies, an SMS constellation, and a variety of less visible communities gathered around video, music, photo, and mixed media paradigms. Some of the members overlap and are pasrt of several communities, some of these communities serve specific purposes, some are flash mobs instantiating and disappearing quickly. She manages her various communities by platform sometimes. These are 'where she is' at any given moment, sometimes in more than one place at a time. Oh, and she has email too. Several of them.

    - I don't want a messaging platform mixing my Facebook and G+ communities. Leave them separate. Some overlap occurs, but I can manage that.

    - SMS is not very useful on my desktop PC You want to do some Universal Inbox of 'Follow Me' concept for 'messaging'? Please don't.

    - I get messages from entities also. When Amazon delivers an order to me, I get SMS, an email, An Amazon app notification. I got one when it was scheduled for delivery. And when it was 'shipped'. And when it was ordered. I get 12 messages for that one order. If I ordered multiple items from different fulfillers, add 9 messages for each different fulfillment channel. It pollutes my life. I turn some of them off, and they creep back in. Multiple apps send me notifications. They are 'messaging' me. Some let me turn off notificaiotns, abnd they keep right on sending them. Some 'apologize', they blame their own app, most ignore me. The cost of 'free' is real.

    - I rarely use or send videos. They are horribly inefficient for simple, spoken or written communication that does not require visuals, and I loathe how-to videos that waste 70% of their duration on establishing shots, personal anecdotes, uncomfortable drivel, wasted time and noise. Give me a step-by-step please. A list.

    - Email is highly underrated, still. I carry on conversations in email very well if the correspondents keep up. At work I get IMs from the loathsome Skype For Business client I'm given, and despite the 'instant' intention people regularly turn away and let a chat linger for minutes. Instant is the behavior, not the app. Email is better than you think.

    - I'm guessing the real complaint is having to manage the address books, friend lists, etc. that these platforms use. I refuse to use my Facebook/Linkdin/Google Contacts to log into multiple platforms. I don't want to share my contact info in Facebook with my Linkedin community. Or with Google, G+, Pinterest, etc. I have good reasons to keep separate communities separate.

    We do NOT have a problem with proliferation of messaging platforms. If you think you do, leave some of them. Everyone you deal with online is either a member of more than one of your communities, or they are as member of one you will keep.

    No problem.

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday March 13, 2017 @10:43PM (#54034155) Homepage

      I'll take an opposing position here. I see a problem. Right now, I have to maintain several different IM/messaging/chat services.

      1) SMS because it came with my phone, and it's what a lot of people use. Honestly this is probably the most ubiquitous and useful, except that it's kind of bound to my phone.
      2) iMessage sort of serves the purpose of SMS. It also basically came with my phone and lets me do SMS and not have it bound to my phone. Except... the thing that makes regular SMS messages also go to my computer randomly stops working, so I still need SMS for talking to Android users.
      3) Slack for work. I don't like it, but it's what people use at work, so I have to use it.
      4) XMPP for work. We use a VoIP solution that has a SIP client that also automatically sets up XMPP chat. Sometimes work people send messages through that.
      5) Google talk/hangouts/whatever-it's-called-now because I have Google obsessed friends who like it.
      6) Facebook Messenger, which I've finally deleted because it keeps getting worse. But now I have to log into the Facebook website to chat with my Facebook friends, because I have some Facebook friends that I'm *only* in contact with through Facebook.

      I feel like there a few others that I'm not thinking of, to say nothing of all the accounts that I've had to sign up for over the years (MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, AOL, etc.). I'm also not including my multiple email addresses. Even though I think email could use an overhaul, I think that email is rightfully a different format.

      So here's why I think that's a problem: I need to have a bunch of different apps using a bunch of different accounts, running on multiple different platforms, just to keep track of text messages. I can't consolidate them into one app because the services aren't compatible with different clients (e.g. I can't use pidgin to use all of them). I also can't talk with people across services (e.g. I can't use my iMessage account to talk to Facebook contacts). I don't even have a choice in client apps (I basically have to use Facebook's Messenger to talk to Facebook contacts).

      It locks us all into inefficient communication platforms that are outside of our control. Imagine if phones worked this way, if every six months there was a new phone app that could only call other users of that phone app, and none of them were capable of calling each other. Or email-- what if you had to sign up for a new email account on every email host in order to email other users on that host. Like imagine there were no SMTP communication between servers, and if you wanted to email someone who had used an Outlook.com email account, you had to sign up for your own Outlook.com account.

      The whole thing is actually really stupid and unnecessary. Having to have all those apps and so many accounts increases your attack surface, decreasing your security. Plus a lot of the apps are awful, unstable, and needlessly complicated for the simple purpose of text messaging. You say, "We just have a robust constellation of competing systems, serving different communities," but the systems don't really compete. They're each little monopolies of their own little walled gardens. There's also no reason why open systems couldn't serve different communities. The only reason there aren't standards is that the Internet has completely abandoned the idea of openness and interoperability in favor of locking users into proprietary advertising platforms that drive engagement.

      • I need to have a bunch of different apps using a bunch of different accounts, running on multiple different platforms, just to keep track of text messages. I can't consolidate them into one app because the services aren't compatible with different clients

        Because the service providers want it that way. They choose to make their services incompatible with each other and with 3rd party clients.

  • by crow ( 16139 )

    Signal is trying to be the answer. They certainly cover instant messaging, and I think they're adding video and audio. I'm not sure about email, but like any encryption system, it only works if you get both ends using the same system, and to use it, you have to go with their interface. Maybe with plugins for Outlook, GMail, Thunderbird, and whatnot, it might work, but it still requires everyone switching to it.

    And none of that fixes the spam problem.

    • by caferace ( 442 )

      The downside is, Signal is buggy (not security wise) on older android releases. And that's where an awful lot of people such as myself are.

      -jim

  • I use Slack (for work), then Facebook Messenger and SMS for personal stuff. Don't feel the need to use anything else.
  • Until enough users are tech savy enough to demand that systems work cross platform, each company will continue to carve out their own feifdom full of surfs who live and die by their rules. As soon as a couple of companies (WhatsApp, IM and skype, for example) start to offer cross platform functionality, those who don't offer cross platform functionality will be progressively marginalized. Then it will be just a preference of what UI you like better.

  • It's like saying it makes no sense to have a house way across town when you could rent a living space at your work. People don't want to live at work. They want natural barriers between the different aspects of their life and the groups of people associated with them.

    For those who keep active Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts, etc., one of those will be how they casually chat with close friends, one will be how they keep in touch with family and work friends, one will be where they flirt, on

  • I solve this problem by never having a total of more than about five contacts.
  • XMPP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @09:02PM (#54033751)

    The only reason XMPP failed was cause everyone (ie: Google, Facebook, etc) cared more about user capture than interoperability. This is all the more obvious considering that they HAD support for it, but then killed it off for no reason.

    XMPP supported almost everything except possibly real-time video. Well, apparently the protocol itself *does* support it, but because no one actually cares, it's never seen the light of day. At least I haven't.

    Everyone conveniently ignores the fact that because HTTP was a universal standard, it allowed a *ridiculous* variety of tools and systems to be developed on top of it. The internet as it exists today, wouldn't, if not for that ubiquitous standard.

    But as usual, lessons in history pale to short term profits.

    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      XMPP supported almost everything except possibly real-time video.

      XMPP sucked for a few more reasons:
      1) It is traffic heavy.
      2) Presence notification causes immense loads on large chats.
      3) Often 3rd parties implemented support poorly (ie: Facebook, Star Trek: Online, AIM didn't provide federation support, limited client support, Google dropped federation, gateways often half assed implemented etc).
      4) Didn't support websockets (had to use BOSH), although RFC 7395 has come to change it, it's a little too late c

  • More than half of humanity has a cell phone, and you can call them instantly if you have their phone number. No additonal protocols or servers are required.

    Now get off my lawn.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      More than half of humanity has a cell phone, and you can call them instantly if you have their phone number.

      And if they still have minutes left on their plan for the month, in the case of calling North Americans.

  • If the problem persists despite wide availability of your proposed solution, it's not actually a solution.

  • It's a shame BlackBerry dragged their feet on porting their BlackBerry Messenger to other platforms. They were the gold standard for simple secure messaging in their prime. BBM [bbm.com] today is an excellent messaging system that nobody uses because they don't know how good it is. I had high hopes for Jabber er...XMPP but as others have pointed out companies couldn't figure out how to monetize it so they ultimately opted for a walled garden solution.
  • Instead of having a new messaging app, just have a contact app that remembers what app you use to get in touch with everyone. When you want to message someone, the contact app will open the relevant messaging app for you. Receiving messages can happen through your phone's/PC's notification system, so it's not so much of a problem.
  • People I care about know how to contact me. People I don't care about may not. I'm fine with that.

    Case in point.. I have a POTS line at home that keep around for the very occasional fax I need to send. When my "home" phone number rings, most of the time I don't bother answering it. If it's anyone I care about, they'll ring my cell.

  • I knew ya could.

    Most people who have to exist on differing networks do exactly this.... Especially when we have to be on walled networks for work.

  • ... like a fucking phone???

    Idiots ....

  • Xmpp all way down (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aglider ( 2435074 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @02:23AM (#54034667) Homepage
    That's the solution. It's well documented, it's a federated protocol, it's already here.,
    Of course, you need to convince Google to restore it and people to give it a try (again).
    With the Google part being very important!

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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