I've been experimenting this week with Gizmo5's ability to set up chat contacts not only with other Gizmo users, but also across different systems and networks. After figuring out that I was being quite naive about how to set it up and what it could do, I now have it working, and I am quite pleased and impressed with it. If you have an account on MSN (Windows Live Messenger), AIM, Yahoo or MySpaceIM, you can access that account, add the contacts to Gizmo5, and then chat with them from Gizmo, rather than having to keep several different IM clients open at the same time!
First, why was I naive? Well, when I saw this capability in Gizmo, I thought (assumed) that all that was necessary was to add the contact information for someone on one of those other services, and you would be ready to chat. Of course, that's not the case - to access those other services, you have to have an account yourself on them, and you have to give Gizmo5 the login information so that it can make the connection. All I can say to myself about this is... DUH! If you stop and think about it just a little, it's pretty clear that this is how it would have to work. Ah well...
Setting it up is quite easy, you just have to select Contacts / Find Friends (this window also shows up automatically when you start Gizmo, if you haven't already disabled it). Enter your Username and Password for each of the services you want to integrate, and Gizmo goes off and does the rest - logs into the service, picks up your contacts, adds them to your Gizmo contact list, and then waits and watches for chat requests on that service. If you want to manually add contacts on other services, you can do that too via the Add Contact dialog, the first field is a drop-down list where you can choose what service the contact is on. (Note to Gizmo: it might be nice to warn users who add contacts on other services for which they have not yet entered their User/Password information)
Chats conducted this way across systems look "normal" on both ends - on Gizmo, it looks like any other Gizmo chat, and on the others it looks like they are chatting to your account on that system. They even get Presence reporting right, with very quick updates, which is something that Skype is still not able to do reliably even within their own network!
For those who are active in several different networks, the ability of Gizmo5 to "centralize" all of that IM activity could be very nice. Oh, and before anyone gets too excited, I did try making a video call between Gizmo5 and MSN, and of course that didn't work.