My Personal IM Evolution

gaimI just realized I've been logging on to one instant messenger protocol or another for over a decade now. How I do so today is quite different than how I did so back then, and over the past ten years there's been an evolution of sorts.

Here, in chronological order, is my personal IM history.

The Early Years: Yahoo!
In the beginning, I was a Yahoo! user. Yahoo! wasn't just my search engine, it was my personal email, my news portal and my instant messenger. As Yahoo! Instant Messenger user mikeboon I installed the YIM client and logged onto that single protocol for years.

The Multi Protocol Revolution: Trillian
As more and more people were only logging on with the MSN Messenger, it soon become obvious I'd have to do the same or I'd be cutting myself off from some work-critical contacts. I refused to log in to more than one client at at a time, and I hated the thought of using a Microsoft client for chat, so I tried Trillian. Trillian was a single client that allowed me to simultaneously log into Yahoo! and MSN instant messengers and this worked well for years.

A New Discovery: Gaim
Searching for a good Jabber client for internal communication at work, I discovered Gaim (recently re-branded Pidgin). Gaim was like Trillian, only I liked the interface and behaviour better. There was even a portable version of Gaim I could stick on my memory stick so my settings could follow me everywhere I went. Gaim trumped Trillian.

Email Integration: Gtalk
Google became my new Yahoo!. That meant it was my search engine, my news portal, my email client and my instant messenger. What rocks about Gtalk is how integrated it is with Gmail. You were just online, but what about those YIM and MSN folks you left behind?

Life in the Browser: Meebo
Imagine if you could log into multiple IM protocols easily without having to download anything or install anything and your settings were the same on any internet-connected computer in the world running any modern browser and operating system? Try It's replaced Gaim for me and has become my YIM and MSN chat vehicle. As for Gtalk, I left him in Gmail where he belongs. Life is good when it's all in the browser.

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Hi Mike.

You may be interested in a new free service: that merges chat history (even old one) from different messengers and makes it accessible for you from web-browser

October 11, 2007 @ 2:08 AM

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