ActiveBuddyThe thing about the Internet is that sometimes things sitting right below your nose day-in and day-out just reach out and slap you across the face. Take instant messaging, for example — I’m a habitual user of AOL Instant Messenger. I’m rarely ever online and not logged onto that service, which is to say that I depend on it heavily to communicate with a lot of the people in my professional and personal lives. And yet, I never really thought through all of the potential that the instant messaging medium offers.

The engineers over at ActiveBuddy have. They’ve developed an amazing product that allows anyone with an IM client to retrieve information from a bot (send an instant message to the screen name “SmarterCousin” on AIM to see for yourself). You can get the usual portal stuff: news, weather, sports, stocks, movie listings etc. That alone is kind of impressive, though also weirdly reminiscent of command-line interfacing with remote servers through a dumb terminal. What’s really cool though is to think about combining this with some really kick-ass AI. Wow…

Thanks to Eddie at The OFP for the tip.