Instant Messaging Pioneer Letters
Instant Messaging Pioneer Letters – In the past, AIM, or America Online’s instant messaging service, was one of the most popular instant messaging tools. Today WhatsApp has grown to the most popular. Luis Alvarez/Getty Images
The Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate. Email was the fastest form of communication ever adopted. Less than two decades ago, not many people had heard of it. Now, many of us are emailing instead of writing letters or even calling people over the phone. People around the world send billions of emails every day.
Instant Messaging Pioneer Letters
But sometimes the email is not fast enough. You may not know if the person you want to send an email to is online at that moment. Also, if you’re emailing back and forth with someone, you usually have to click a few steps. This is why instant messaging (IM) has become so popular.
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With instant messaging, you can keep a list of the people you interact with. You can IM with anyone in your friends list or contact list as long as that person is online. You write messages to each other in a small window that appears on both screens.
In this article, you will learn about the history of instant messaging and how it works. You will also learn what the major instant messengers are, what makes them different from each other and what the future holds for instant messaging.
Before the internet became popular, many people were already using the internet. Major online services, such as America Online (AOL), Prodigy, and CompuServe, were the main way in which ordinary people could connect and communicate with each other over the Internet. Online Services provide the actual interface you use when you are connected to the Service, creating a targeted experience for users.
In the early 1990s, people started spending more and more time on the Internet. Creative developers designed chat room software and set up chat rooms on web servers. In a chat room, a group of people can write messages that everyone in the “room” sees. Instant messaging is basically a chat room for just two people.
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The instant messaging service hit the internet scene in November 1996. That’s when Mirabilis introduced ICQ, a free instant messaging tool that anyone can use. ICQ, short for “I’m looking for you,” uses a software application, called a client, on your device. The client communicates with the ICQ server whenever you are online and the client is running.
In 1997, AOL, considered the pioneer of the online community, gave its users the ability to talk in real time with each other through chat rooms and instant messaging. In June 1998, AOL acquired Mirabilis and ICQ.
The ICQ model is the basis for most instant messaging tools on the market today. In the next section we will examine how these services work.
Soon after AOL purchased ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) became the leader in instant messaging. Despite this, in the past few years, a number of services have carved out the audience for AIM. Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger), Yahoo! Messenger, in particular, has become widely used all over the world. Google recently introduced its own instant messaging platform, Google Talk. Proprietary multi-protocol applications such as Trillian and Pidgin, which allow users to instant messaging on several services simultaneously, are also rapidly gaining popularity. According to a 2006 study by comScore, which measures Internet use, about half of Internet users use instant messaging.
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The main IM tools use a special protocol that other IM services do not understand, so users of one service are usually blocked from communicating with members of another. One of the main reasons for AIM’s initial popularity is that it allowed AOL subscribers to communicate with non-members. One of the provisions of the AOL-Time Warner merger in 2001 was that AOL would allow access to the AOL community and the AIM protocol, but since then other instant messaging tools have provided greater access. Microsoft and Yahoo! It joined forces in 2006 to allow its users to communicate with each other on a single service.
It is important to note that instant messaging is not a secure method of communication. Your messages and contact information are maintained on servers controlled by your instant messaging tool provider. Most utilities provide some level of encryption, but they are not so secure that you have to send any confidential information through the system. Cases have been reported where IM user logs have been captured and used by nefarious types, and hackers are known to send IMs to virus infected files. VoIP is believed to be more vulnerable to hacking than text instant messages.
Instant messaging capabilities have expanded greatly in recent years. Most services offer file sharing, and AOL and Yahoo! Google and MSN are integrating their instant messaging service with their email service, so that users can receive email notifications while instant messaging. Many service providers also allow users to instant messaging and share files from their mobile phones and mobile devices, allowing access to their services anywhere, anytime. A Google Talk user can archive instant messaging conversations and also drag files and folders directly into the chat window, with images instantly appearing in their friends’ chat window. Windows Live Messenger enables instant messaging between Xbox 360 gamers. Customization capabilities have exploded, with instant messengers being able to customize personal icons, screen interfaces, and greetings.
Most instant messengers, including Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk, allow users to talk just as they would over the phone, and some offer video chat capabilities. (For more information, see our article on VoIP technology.)
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Many free utilities combine various services. Trillian provides a central location for AIM, ICQ, Windows Live, and Yahoo! Messenger and IRC communications. All contacts are displayed in the same window, with different colored circles representing each service. Trillian’s “metacontact” feature shows a single entry in the contact list for people with multiple IM memberships, and it’s the only multi-service client that offers video chat capabilities (although you’ll have to shell out $25 for a Pro membership).
Pidgin users can send instant messages, transfer files, and share photos with contacts in AIM, ICQ, IRC, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo! messenger. Its “Buddy Pounce” feature sends notifications when selected contacts change their online status or send instant messages. Global instant messaging providers Meebo and eBuddy are web-based, which means they don’t need to download software. eBuddy also offers a mobile version of its service. Friends IMing on Qnext, which works with all the major IM providers, can listen to each other’s music files without having to download them.
The future of instant messaging is very bright. All utilities described in this article continue to be updated by their owners, and instant messaging providers continue to collaborate to allow more interface between users of their services. Business users can now hold virtual conferences and collaborate on projects very easily. If you haven’t tried instant messaging, you are missing out on a whole new world of communication.
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