Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How Google pulled the plug on the public Jabber Network

I know I'm late but I still can't see this part of the deal showing up...

So, it's no news that Google first disallowed new s2s connections, then started their own protocol, which has no s2s connections at all.

With that, the largest node of the public Jabber network went down, incorporating the largest share of its users. They're pointing to spam:

Chee Chew said that "we haven't seen significant uptake" in federation with Google Talk via server-to-server connections. The majority of the uptake Google did see was from organizations or individuals looking to bombard Google Talk users with chat spam
Ars Technica

And also did the original dream of Jabber.

By assigning server identity as a hostname, servers are also able to route data directly to each other and their connected clients, thereby creating a new, inherently open IM network out of all the individual installed servers and clients.
Jabber internet Draft

There is no open IM network anymore: we have some walled gardens supporting the XMPP c2s protocol for easy access.

For years, I've been dreaming - and trying to get funds - for a mail system competing GMail, but being compatible with it both in e-mail and IM - that's not possible anymore.

I was urging Hungarian e-mail providers - some of them providing their own XMPP implementation - to allow external IM connections between each other and gmail - that's not possible anymore.

The open network of communication won't be brought by XMPP, that's for sure.

Jabber failed to provide good enough spam protection, failed to provide a scalable protocol, failed to provide easy transfer of accounts between providers (if I change e-mail address, I don't have to re-add all my friends, it's enough to set a simple forward or inbox pulling - that's not true for Jabber IDs!)

Besides, no matter what was the dream, it turned out, the complexity is mostly on the client side, and that IM networks are inherently complex. We had a lot of clients able to transfer basically text-only messages. Not even files.

Also, given the fragmentation of the community - it's not a product, it's a protocol community somehow - Jabber failed to gain developer interest it seems - instead of Jingle, the way for A/V communications seems to be WebRTC now.

For message broadcasting and queing, there are a lot of protocols available. XMPP is one of them. For me, XMPP was an open protocol and network for human-to-human communication, and it seems it has failed its mission. It's only used as a fallback protocol for IM clients.

So, it seems we're struck with walled gardens for a while again.