Here's a list of what I thought IMs (Instant Messenger e.g. MSN, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger...) could add into their protocols.
1. Make their protocols modular like XMPP
Most protocols can be said to be modular to a small degree but the XMPP protocol (Google Talk is XMPP) is by far the most modular protocol I have seen.
I have done testing of chat security and as like many people who have used Wireshark / Ethereal to capture chat conversations, I could see my conversations and logins in full plain view. The amount of eavesdropping on conversation and breach of privacy is escalating and it's time we need to protect ourselves. Pidgin IM have an RSA encryption plugin but you need another Pidgin IM with RSA plugin installed and enabled. Why not a universal standard cross - chat , OS and programming language platform security protocol to protect us using IMs ?
3. Proper file transfer
Most IMs file transfer sucks big time. Slow and prone to dropping... especially MSN's. There's a need for a proper file transfer. Maybe MSN might want to build in a proper FTP function that supports the standard FTP... not MSN's own file transfer. Use the standards. Don't try to reinvent the wheel and fail horribly. Current chat file transfers are can be summarized in one word: UGLY !
4. Universal emoticon symbols
Some messengers support certain symbols for certain emoticons. I think there is a need for a universal standardized emoticon and symbol set. Maybe someone could propose that to some world standards body like ISO ?
5. OPENNESS of APIs.
Most messengers are trying to open up their APIs and that's good but I noticed that more work and effort is needed.
for now, this is a list of what most IMs need to look into.