Right after introducing colored label, Google rolled out a web-based client for AOL Instant Messenger chatting as part of Gmail, posted in the announcement on Gmail blog.
Gmail + chat + AIM = crazy delicious
From Gmail blog post: ….a new feature we've started to roll out which will enable you to sign into your AIM account and chat with your AIM buddies right inside Gmail. When you log in to AIM through Gmail chat, your AOL buddies will appear in your chat list with friends from your Google Talk network, and you will see the yellow "running man" logo to the right of your AIM friends' screen names. To your AIM friends it will look like you are logged in to AIM as usual.
You will still need an AIM account, as Google Talk and AOL are not joining forces, but Google is merely using the Open AIM framework.
Gmail Help clarifies that Google doesn't use anything extraordinary, only a public API. "AIM in Gmail is not a Google Talk and AIM federation; it's the ability to sign in to your AIM messaging account from Gmail. Gmail uses Open AIM to provide this feature." That's why you still need an AIM account and you'll have to periodically enter the credentials. "We ask for your password when you first sign in, and we forward it to AOL's OpenAuth service. Once AOL validates your log-in information, they send a token we can use to sign in to AIM on your behalf. We then promptly forget your password. The token is only valid when used by Google, can only be used to sign in to AIM, and expires after a while."Gmail, AOL, AIM, Chat, IM, Instant Messaing, New Features, Featured News