Meebo for Google’s Android Platform

Update 2: See my newer blog post.

Update: We’re working hard to fix some bugs, and we’re currently hoping to release this on November 7th. Sorry to keep people waiting, we’re just EXTREMELY busy :-( On side note, if you’re crazy talented and want to work at an awesome company then check out Meebo’s job listings.

Overview

I first mentioned Android in a January blog post, and a few weeks ago I mentioned that me and Jim from Meebo wrote an IM program for Google Android (unfortunately we didn’t win the competition :-( ).

Android is an operating system built for cell phones. It aims to provide functionality similar to Apple’s iPhone. Many major cell phone manufacturers are working on creating cell phones that run Android. They’re expected to hit the market toward the end of this year.

Videos

I made two videos showing our program in action. It’s running on an emulator on my computer which simulates the cell phone. Check it out: Video 1 and Video 2. The videos are about 12 MB each, and are pretty similar. So unless you’re really into it you can probably just watch one of them.

How Does it Work?

It’s written from scratch in Java and uses the normal Android API. We did NOT implement any protocol code directly. Instead we chose to implement a light-weight frontend that talks to the Meebo servers, then the Meebo servers talk to the IM networks. The application makes HTTP POST calls to the Meebo web servers to establish a session, login, send messages, etc–we essentially reimplemented the Meebo JavaScript code.

There are a few pros and cons to this approach. On the plus side this makes the actual program size smaller, which is nice. And network bandwidth can hopefully be reduced because all data gets proxied through the Meebo servers, which can filter out information that the application might not be interested in. It also means we can fix bugs on the server-side that would otherwise require the application to be updated. On the downside, going through Meebo means there is another potential point of failure (although Meebo is almost never down).

It supports only basic functionality right now: signing on with multiple accounts on multiple protocols, a buddylist which shows people as online/offline/away and shows their buddy icon, and the ability to send and receive instant messages.

We haven’t released this yet, but I think we’ll have something available for download by the time Android phones are on the market, if not sooner. It’s my hope that we can release the source code and allow users to contribute patches to us. I think Meebo would have to play a “benevolent dictator” role, but I think it could work out really well.

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16 Responses to Meebo for Google’s Android Platform

  1. salchichatu says:

    It looks grrrrrreat! I am so proud. I still think you should have won ;)

  2. hey guys

    will you be putting this out in the marketplace when the G1 launches?! I just found it and I’m so excited I could wet myself! Already have a G1 on pre-order (will be getting it with all the others on oct 22nd) and would LOVE for meebo to be my first downloaded ap!

    • Mark Doliner says:

      Re: hey guys

      It’s likely we’ll put this out in the marketplace, but I’m still working on making that the “official” decision. FYI it looks like the G1 will include an IM application preloaded. But I haven’t been able to find out what protocols it supports. It seems like it supports at least AIM and Google Talk.

      • Re: hey guys

        The Official word from T-Mobile is that it will connect to G-Talk, AIM, Y!, and MSN… there are screenshots of it out there too (I’ve seen) – I know one is here : http://www.engadget.com/photos/t-mobile-g1s-getting-started-manual/1057810/

        However, I am not sure if you can connect to more then one at once.

        Regardless, meebo has both logging and renaming (not to mention one concise list) that I’d enjoy to have personally

        • Mark Doliner says:

          Re: hey guys

          Thanks for the info.

          FYI yes, we will be releasing this. Probably via the marketplace. Probably shortly before or soon after October 22nd.

          And I hope you’re not disappointed… it’s a pretty minimal application. Really the only feature aside from simple chatting is that you can sign in with a Meebo account and your chat logs are saved on the Meebo servers so you can access them later.

          • Re: hey guys

            That sounds awesome! I would honestly be interested in it for sure for these features alone! However, I know one of the BIGGEST pushes for me with meebo is two other things: groups & renaming. While I don’t need smilies, file transfer, or really ANYTHING else, if these things aren’t there it’d be harder for me to use meebo as I couldn’t tell who “fancyhappygirl1918″ is (lord knows I rename EVERYONE to their real name, I can’t remember screen names for crap) and groups help too (if I can tell that “fancyhappygirl1918″ is in the “family” group, I can likely narrow down WHO she is better) I can also find people faster (if at all) whether renamed or not if they are grouped. Any word on this in current or future releases?

            I know this is all so new, and am SUPER EXCITED to be on the cusp for this and Meebo. Why? Cause Meebo ROCKS MAH FREAKIN CASBAH!

            …if only you could fix Yahoo! renaming… ((sigh))

  3. Anonymous says:

    Question…

    Just wondering how the app is going and if its going to be available for download soon? Also – wondering if it will notify me when I get an IM if its in the background? Looks like a great app so far. Great job!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Application

    Are you going to post it online so we can install it manually? If you are or if you could just send me it in an email and i can figure out what i need to do to install it please do androidf58 at gmail.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes please release this.

    The AIM app on the current android platform is horrible, and very buggy. Please release this. I beg you.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank You

    thank you sooooooo much and wish you guys the best and cant wait

  7. sdtekken says:

    thekingant I am anxiously waiting for you guys to release this. The AIM program on the G1 is terrible. I love using meebo so I know you guys will not disappoint.

    Im hoping you guys will add the ability to join Chat Rooms.

    Anyways thanks for all your hard work!

  8. markmansd says:

    please have chatroom functionality!

    So far the best example of AIM/communication has been the Danger/Sidekick AIM service. It has been the most consistent so far for me.

    I hope meebo can replicate the same experience AND have chatroom funcationality as well, just like the SK one!

    The one that is default on the G1 is garbage!

  9. Anonymous says:

    released already?

    An meebo created meebo app was just announced and released onto the android marketplace. Is this the same app?

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