AOL is providing the newest communications channel on Google.
Fulfilling a pledge made two years ago, Google Inc. this week unveiled a feature that enables people to chat on AOL’s instant messaging service through “Gmail” - the popular search company’s free e-mail service.
Not all Gmail users can get at the instant message service yet because Mountain View-based Google is still rolling out the coding that includes the settings to log on to AOL instant messaging, or AIM. Google officials didn’t set a timetable for making AIM available to all its Gmail users.
It took a long time to get this far. Google first disclosed its plans to open its doors to AIM in December 2005 when it paid $1 billion for a 5 percent stake in Time Warner Inc.’s AOL.
But the plan went on the back burner while Google engineers worked on myriad other projects, said Mike Jazayeri, a senior product manager for Google.
Meanwhile, rivals Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. last year cross-pollinated their instant messaging services.
Adding access to AOL’s instant messaging service may help Google attract more people to its e-mail service, which has been gaining ground on its larger rivals.