The days of instant messaging aren't over! In fact, there are several great options whether you're looking for a personal instant messaging service or one for your business.
Digsby is great for personal use because it lets you easily manage multiple accounts from one platform. You can combine your buddy lists from AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber, and even Facebook Chat. If you're looking for something that goes beyond just IM capabilities, Digsby also allows you to also manage your email (including Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL/AIM Mail, IMAP, and POP accounts) and social networks (including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn). Digsby is free to download.
Pidgin also lets you combine your personal chat networks. They support many of the top chat networks including AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, and more. They also support chat features such as file transfers, away messages, and buddy icons. One of the best things about Pidgin is their language support. Pidgin has been translated into over 80 languages and counting! Pidgin is free, but doesn't have any ads. It is also open source, so you can customize it as long as you publish your changes for the benefit of everyone.
Trillian connects multiple personal IM services together as well as connecting your email and social networks. You can download Trillian for free for your PC or Mac as well as for your mobile device including iPad, iPhone, Android, and even Blackberry. If you're looking for more from your IM experience, you can also upgrade to remove the ads and get cloud history for a fee. Trillian also has business plans that allows businesses to manage their own IM network in the cloud. Their business plan starts at $2/per user/per month and you can try them for free for 30 days to see if Trillian is the right fit for your business.
HipChat provides a private IM network for businesses. They also feature a 30 day free trial, so you can see if they're the right fit for your business. They use SSL encryption to keep your company chats private except to your set group. Their pricing is also $2/per user/per month, though if you're a small group of five or less, you can use their service for free. Shout out to them for being a fellow Bay Area company!
SideNotesIM is an intra-office messaging service. It keeps your office communications secure by not using your internet connection or a dedicated server. They've tried to make things faster and easier for your employees by adding quick keys that allow users to insert a predefined message, single click reply options, and even a live chat room. You can try them out for free or choose between their two plans.
Hopefully you noticed that two of the websites featured on our list are none other than .IM websites! .IM is not just great for websites offering IM services; it's great for personal websites too! This is because .IM can stand for "I'm." .IM is on sale now for $8.99, so find your perfect .IM today! Sale ends 8/31/13 23:59 BST.
Robyn Norgan, who would like to give an honorary shout out to AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Yes, that's right AIM is still kicking! Its slogan is even "OMG since 1997." Today you can access AIM from any browser and download it on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or Android, meaning you no longer have to sign into AOL to use it (did you just hear that dial up sound and the "Welcome, You've Got Mail!" voice in your head too?).