IM Bots …

I was reading a post on Wil Wheaton’s blog (always a good read) about AIM bots which reminds me once again that I just don’t get it when it comes to IM bots.

The idea is you have a little program at the other end of an instant message service that responds to queries of some form and, maybe, also contacts you with some useful bit of information. I’m sorry, but that’s not what I want instant messaging to do. I don’t need the feeling I’m talking to some pseudo-person to find out something, I have more powerful tools for that. I certainly don’t want to be interrupted with some new update or other I’ll check my feed reader for that, thank you very much.

Isn’t this just a ‘cute’ use of the technology, repacking information in yet another way? Is there any real use for it aside from the cool factor? If you’re always on IM (and I admit that I’m not) perhaps it’s just merging all the information into one place. Or perhaps it’s a hangover from the days when that sort of text messaging was the best way. It seems a bit of a shame to downshift everything to a format suitable for IMing when you’ve more than likely got a fully featured web browser sitting just beside it. I guess that people on mobile devices might benefit but nowadays they’re just as likely to have a browser and other software anyway.

I don’t think we should clutter different communication mediums just because we can, and if we are converging things don’t filter down to the simpler methods of communication. Why not converge them up into the richer methods, IM conversations in your feed reader and e-mail app (pretty much where GMail is heading).

The trick is to get more new information out in the ways that are already there, and not so much delivering the same information in new ways. If people really want IM bots they’ll find something the translates search results / RSS feeds into IM responses, it shouldn’t be the job of the content provider to do that.

Or maybe I just don’t get it. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Comments are closed.