Instant Messaging Software: Clients, Part 1 in a Series

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Date: Monday, July 1st, 2002, 14:08
Category: Archive

I couldn’t imagine a day without firing up my instant message of client. In our fast-paced world, the rapid response of e-mail is not fast enough for many of us. There is no way to know if the person you are corresponding with is online or not. Also, sending e-mails back and forth with another person can become annoying when you have to open each individual email, read it and then reply. This is why instant messaging (IM) has gained popularity over the Internet.

The breakthrough of instant messaging occurred in the early 1990’s, as people began to spend larger amounts of time online. Eventually a number of creative software developed designed software that could reproduce some of the aspects of an online service.

However, instant messaging really gained popularity and became big on the Internet in November of 1996 when Mirabalis, a company founded by four Israeli programmers introduced ICQ. ICQ was a free instant-messaging utility that anyone could use to contact friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers.

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I couldn’t imagine a day without firing up my instant message of client. In our fast-paced world, the rapid response of e-mail is not fast enough for many of us. There is no way to know if the person you are corresponding with is online or not. Also, sending e-mails back and forth with another person can become annoying when you have to open each individual email, read it and then reply. This is why instant messaging (IM) has gained popularity over the Internet.

The breakthrough of instant messaging occurred in the early 1990’s, as people began to spend larger amounts of time online. Eventually a number of creative software developed designed software that could reproduce some of the aspects of an online service.

However, instant messaging really gained popularity and became big on the Internet in November of 1996 when Mirabalis, a company founded by four Israeli programmers introduced ICQ. ICQ was a free instant-messaging utility that anyone could use to contact friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers.

Since the introduction of ICQ in 1996, multiple other instant messaging protocols have come out to fill the need for real-time communities. In addition, the amount of features in each software client have increased to include:

  • Instant Messages – Send notes back and forth with someone who is online
  • Chat – Create custom chat room with friends or co-workers
  • Web links – Share links to favorite Web sites
  • Images – Look at an image stored on another person’s computer
  • Sounds – Play sounds for friends
  • Files – Share files by sending them directly to your friends
  • Talk – Use the Internet instead of a phone to actually talk with friends
  • Streaming Content – Real-time or near-real-time stock quotes and news

Six years later after the introduction of ICQ, and almost a year and a half after the debut of Mac OS X there have been many new IM clients. Below are a list of clients and a short review of each:

    Adium 1.6– Developed by Adam Iser, Adium is a unique and gorgeous AOL Instant Messenger client. Every buddy has a status circle that keeps you informed of new messages, unresponded content, and more. Your buddy’s idle time is put right next to their name so you know in a glance how long they’ve been away. Every open message gets it’s own tab, cutting down on the jumble of windows so common in other clients. Adium also offers advanced features, such as buddy list and profile sharing, letting you share the same profile and buddy list between several screen names on your computer

    AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) 4.5.651-America Online’s client has made many improvements since the release of its OS X version,but it still is slow and processor-hungry. In the newest beta version of AIM features such as Mac.com support, new dock menu, aim contextual menu, bot artwork, smart connection preferences, application icon bouncing, direct IM support, new artwork, new away options, smileys! and font prefs for incoming IM’s have been added.

    Excite Messenger 2.2b3– Excite Messenger is an instant messaging client. In addition to easy-to-use instant messaging, it provides you with personalized content (sports scores, weather, TV listings, horoscopes, news, and more); it lets you listen to Internet radio using QuickTime Streaming; it notifies you when you have new email; and it includes a great new feature called Buddy Card which lets you share photos, web links, and your up-to-date contact information with your friends.

    Fire 0.31.a– Fire is a multi-platform Instant Messenger client. It supports chatting with AOL Instant Messenger communication, ICQ communication, and Yahoo! Pager communication.

    Hubz Instant Messaging Server 2.0– Hubz is the Internet’s first truly Web-based instant messaging solution. It is an interactive, Java-based Web applet that transforms the Web from a predominantly one-way push platform into a truly interactive, live, real-time, two-way communication medium. Hubz allows visitors on the same site or the same page to see and interact with each other without special programs, plug-ins or client-side software.

    ICQ 3.02X– ICQ (“I Seek You”), is a very popular program that notifies you in real-time when friends or colleagues are online. Once they are online, you can send them messages, chat, play games, exchange files, and more. Newer features include saving a log of your previous messages, being notified when you have new email, and sending email through ICQ.

    Jabber 1.4.1– The first application of Jabber technology is an instant messaging system focused on privacy, security, ease of use, access from anywhere using any device, and interoperability with IM, phone, and web-based services. The result? Jabber is quickly becoming a standard component of Internet infrastructure.

    MSN Messenger X 3.0– MSN Messenger is a chat client that allows you to connect to the MSN network and chat with buddies online. With Messenger 3.0 users also have access to common tasks and functions directly from the Dock including signing out of MSN Messenger; changing their status; transferring files; going directly to the MSN Home Page and Hotmail Inbox; and viewing their contact list. Version 3.0 adds many new features, including file transfer, groups, contact import and export, and a new, updated user interface.

    Proteus 1.6.1b4– Proteus is a chat client that allows you to connect that chat with all of the major chat networks, including AOL Instant Messenger, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ, and more. In version 1.6.1b4 allows you to change the message layout, from the modern look (starting in b3) to the classic look.. what existed before, in the Message Preferences.

    TVJab 0.6.9b– TVJab is a Jabber Instant Messaging client that runs both on Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. This Alpha release contains most of the common Jabber features for private messaging, dialog, chat rooms, vCards and Jabber User Directories. It has also been tested with the ICQ/AIM and MSN gateways.

    Yahoo! Messenger X 2.0– Yahoo! Messenger is a program that allows you to see when your friends log onto the Internet. You can then chat, send files, and more with each other. Version 2.0 adds carbonization, “User Is Typing” Notification, Status icon support, auto idle status, new smileys, new graphics and interface revisions, miscellaneous bug fixes, especially with respect to proxy support and networking.

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