The formal Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, which came from Jabber (open source IM). The important things to know about this are that it is XML based (and thus its messages are human readable if unencrypted, and it is easy to write code to handle these) and that it is extensible: new features can be added.
I'm not a big fan of IM, probably mostly because of my poor typing skills. Old fuddy that I am, I also object to the abbreviations and geek shorthand apt to be found in these communications. W00t, W00t yourself, I say, but I do see that this is valuable for others, and openness is always better than proprietary. Will AOL and the other closed systems adopt this? Who knows.. they may be forced to.
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