The Unclassifiable Library Remix

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Meebo's Hostile Takeover

Google's purchase of Meebo is looming large in library news.  Google followed their purchase with an announcement that in early July, Meebo would be discontinued.  There are a number of articles about alternatives to Meebo, rants about Google discontinuing such a valued product, and more.  I think this article from LIS News gives a good overview of the situation from a library point of view.

We have been using Meebo at our library for some time now for our IM reference and have it embedded in widgets numerous places on our web site.  We were just beginning to participate in NCKnows - cooperative IM reference on the state level - when the takeover by Google was announced, and many here think that this will be our solution to Meebo being discontinued.  However, I don't think this can substitute for local IM - a lot of which isn't reference but account questions and such that can only be handled by someone locally and not someone halfway across the state.  I am hoping we will pick up an alternative, as I hate to see people disenfranchised from communications.  I want to maintain the ability for patrons to contact us via whatever chat program they use (I love aggregation) - and I am also concerned about maintaining our ability to provide SMS service through chat.  
 I think far more patrons text then IM.  We've been doing this using Google Voice, which forwards SMS to Google Talk and then into Meebo.  I'm not sure how we will  continue this once we lose Meebo, but I am hoping we can. 

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