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Because it is so much easier to work with and because the functions that send and receive the messages are abstracted away from the interface, it is much easier to add new ways to interact. For instance, I have a Cronjob that looks through my calendar and sends me a text message for appointments. It also tells me if I need to get to work a few minutes early, and checks the forecast to see if I should bring an umbrella or bike to work. I could set up a task to automatically send other people messages on certain days/times. I have even set up a basic auto-reply robot that can provide myself and others with information. Keep an eye out for a future Projects article on this. For instance, if the sender is on a trusted list, they can find out what I have scheduled by asking the robot. Unknown/untrusted numbers can get pointed to this website. I can use it to get OC Transpo bus information.
Some of this can be cobbled together with Google Calendar and a specific app for each task. Others just can't be done at all. But even with those that can be done, I would be changing from the way I want to interact with the system in order to get the result I want. I don't want Google to know my schedule, nor do I want 30 apps on the phone I rarely look at. If I sit in front of an IRC screen all day anyways, it is nice to get all of my notifications and messages there, where I can react to them with the comfort of my keyboard.