Yahoo! Messenger with Voice now includes plug-ins “designed to let people to do things like track eBay auctions, see friends’ wish lists on Amazon.com, collaborate real-time on event planning and compare calendars with contacts” (via ZDNet).
Guess what? I don’t care! I don’t need my chat application to do any of that – I already have a web browser.
But what I do need it to help me with is to better manage my interactions with those on my buddylist. If presence is the new dial tone, then I need better ways to manage my presence. I want to be able to make my availability known to certain subsets of my contacts.
Perhaps, for example, I’d like to be available via IM to a group of people I am working with but not all of my business contacts. The only option I have right now is make my IM “invisible” to everyone. That’s obviously not useful if I do want to take advantage of IM for a subset of all my contacts.
Presence based systems – AIM, Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, and others – could benefit from this concept across the board. But as I mentioned in the past, social networks could utilize a similar idea too, by refining the types of contacts in your network and changing the way each contact can access and interact with you.
Right now, the only way I’m accomplishing this separation is by having two different AIM accounts. One is exclusively for work and the other is personal. I can run both through Trillian but I have the option to shutdown the personal one when I really need to concentrate or to run only the personal account on the weekends.
If presence is to become the new dial tone, this functionality will have to evolve – and I’m surprised it hasn’t already. For me, better presence management is more important than getting Yahoo! Messenger to support RSS. When we have that, then we can talk about Instant Messaging 2.0.