Recently, I have been thinking about creating my own IM protocol. Mainly due to the fact that I think there should be another alternative in a lightweight client that supports every OS (using Java).
However, I think this wouldn’t be that worth of a write. This is because there are already written alternatives out there. For example, there’s XMPP (or Jabber), Skype, and Google Talk (Jabber). Yet, people do not use these are much. This could possibly be that they are not as popular as AIM or MSN. Also, there is already alternative clients that support multiple protocols, such as Pidgin (no ads), and Disgby.
Of course anyone that uses the official clients can easily modify them. For MSN, there’s A-Patch, Mess.be Patch, and Messenger Plus! Live. I personally use A-Patch (Mess.be never updated to 9.0 so they lost out, which sucks as they used to be my favorite), and Messenger Plus! Live. For AIM, there’s Aim Ad Hack. I personally use this cause not only does it get rid of the ads, it get rid of that garbage the AIM installer likes to put on your computer, such as the AIM Toolbar (ick!)
So would it be worth it to write an IM protocol that does what just about everything that’s already out there? Probably for a learning experience, yeah, but for a wide audience, probably not. People don’t like switching or changing from things they are used to, that’s just how the way we are. Most likely if that user is already on an IM service, they would probably stick to it for the convenience, and we all know how hard it is to get your friends to switch over to another service too (i.e AIM to MSN and vice versa).