The Internet's governing technical body quietly gave its stamp of approval Thursday to a group intent on creating an open standard for instant messaging.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the group that sets the technical standards for the Internet, gave the go-ahead to the creators of open-source instant-messaging application Jabber to create a working group based on that technology. These such groups plan the specific implementations of the technologies that make up the Internet.
A representative of the new working group wasn't immediately available for comment.
Called the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), the group's instant messaging standard gives Internet users hope of one day being able to send messages to anyone on the Net, no matter what software they are using.
The group is also charged with adding security--including authentication, privacy and access control--to instant messaging, according to the group's charter.
Currently, AOL Time Warner, Yahoo and Microsoft divide nearly all instant messenger users among them. Yahoo and Microsoft, as well as smaller IM clients, have in the past called on America Online to open its instant messaging system to rivals.
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News source: C|net