Meebo to transform Web-based IM into 'platform'

Internet startup Meebo hopes to create Facebook-like momentum behind its Web-based IM site

Internet startup Meebo is urging developers to create applications around its Web-based IM (instant-messaging) site, an attempt to create Facebook-like momentum.

Using the Meebo site, people can send instant messages using accounts from companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL. The site lets people use their IM account when they may not be at computers with the right IM software installed. People can also embed a Meebo chat window within their Web site.

Meebo has started to augment its site with applications and has recently added voice and video chat. Now it's hoping to lure developers into building applications that will be offered through Meebo's site, similar to Facebook.

Facebook opened its site to external developers in May and now has at least 6,000 applications, which have drawn more people to the social-networking site. Sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and others want to generate more advertising revenue by taking advantage of the masses of users flocking to social-networking sites. So far, Meebo has no advertising.

Developers can build a JavaScript or Flash application and register it with Meebo, which will then release code to allow the new application to call on Meebo's APIs (application programming interfaces), according to Meebo's blog.

The application then resides in Meebo's database. When the developer signs into their account, the application will appear in a list contained within Meebo's IM window. The developer can invite others to try out the application.

Eventually, developers can alert Meebo again to review the application. Meebo says it will then contact the developer within a few weeks.

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