I’ve raved before about the Google’s recent crop of richly interactive applications. The “technology” (really, collection of old technologies that have finally matured to the point where they’re usable) behind these has been christened “Ajax.”
So here’s the latest amazing application in the Ajax tool suite: Meebo. Meebo is a multi-protocol chat client like Trillian and Fire. But unlike those programs, which are applications for desktop operating systems, Meebo is entirely web-based. If you use instant messaging, I suggest you give it a try. The level of interactivity it offers is stunning.
This is what Google Talk should have been. True, they probably couldn’t have done the voice-communication this way, so a desktop application may have been inevitable. But on the other hand, doing an Ajax IM client would have been so much more impressive than implementing yet another Windows IM client.
“Ajax” is a word you’re going to hear a lot in the coming year. If I owned a traditional web-based application (MapQuest and HotMail, I’m looking at you), I would be very worried right now. Once users start to discover what a truly interactive website looks like, they’re going to be increasingly dissatisfied with the “point, click, and wait” model. There are dozens of opportunities right now for startups to steal a significant chunk of market share by being the first to market with a particular kind of Ajax application.