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Google Needs AOL's AIM Network

One question left unanswered in the Google-Comcast bid to buy a stake in AOL: Will AOL's AIM network be part of the deal? If so, it would be a tremendous boost for Google's sagging Google Talk, and Google's ultimate VoIP strategy.
Google Talk was announced with a bang and soon became a whimper. It's a very clean-looking IM client, and it's particularly adept at voice chat. Ultimately, it will be the centerpiece of Google's entry into VoIP.

But it has one serious problem --- no one appears to use it. No matter the design and feature set, an IM client is only as useful as the number of people on its IM network. With Google Talk, nobody's home.

If Google gets access to AOL's AIM network as part of its AOL deal, it would be a tremendous win. Uptake of Google Talk would be instantaneous and massive. Google would be well on the way to VoIP domination.

This is all the more important because of the Microsoft-Yahoo agreement about IM interoperability, which puts even more pressure on Google to make Google Talk succeed.

So if the Google-Comcast-AOL deal goes through, the long-term Google win won't be the AOL portal. It's the AIM network that's important for Google.