My friend June figured this one out first, and it’s so rad I had to follow suit: meebo, the wonder tool that allows anyone to log into their AIM, Yahoo, MSN or Jabber accounts from any browser anywhere, came out with a widget you can stick on your site. And it does what I’ve always dreamed of such an app doing; it’s connected to a client, so I can launch the client and get IMs from guests who visit my website. And they don’t need to log in to do it.
You can test it out on me here.
You could do something like this with those floating chat windows (very cool, all of them), but this one really bridges the gap between proper IM and web-based chat. You don’t even need a meebo account (or any other) to talk to me!
One of the big advantages to the meebo widget is that it’s entirely private, only two-way communication. If two people land on the page at the same time, you just get two IM windows in your client, they aren’t aware of each other. There are other apps to allow people who are visiting the same site to natter at each other anyway. I’ve been wanting something like this.
I think this widget is a really nice step to move into v.ref. No accounts, no special software; and you coud stick it all over the place, including, say, in a course-specific web resource or pathfinder. And the thing tells you if the person on the other end isn’t available right now. Sweet!