TR has a good piece on how IM is evolving, especially through open-source processes (article by Kate Greene), quoting the interoperability of Jabber (which I use everyday as a gateway for AIM/MSN contacts) or the like of Meebo and Trillian (that "seemingly combine the major IM networks (...) they merely supply a unified user interface; there's no true inter-operability"). Some snippets:
Beyond voice and text communication over the Internet, other applications have emerged that are a far cry from the traditional image of IM as a computer-to-computer chatting tool. A U.K. company called Trakm8, for example, uses the Jabber protocol and Global Positioning System to send text messages to mobile phones about the location of a car. The system also offers a feature alertings drivers via text messages if their car exceeds the speed limit.
Some investment banks have also adopted Jabber IM, building applications to fit their specific needs. Workers have multiple chat windows open at once, and when certain financial information pops up in one window, it can be routed immediately into spreadsheets containing financial models that, in turn, trigger buying decisions, Saint-Andre says.
Why do I blog this? I have already discussed here that I like IM interface and that it might be a good starting point for interacting with webservices like asking weather forecast/movie (it's possible today) and why not for RSS feeds sorting/trimming, ideas/memes exchange, delicious tagging/queries...
Besides, the Trakm8 application seems interesting too: an expansion of IM to do other things than just "chatting".