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Discovering IM, its roots, development, features and success

by: Vianca C. Villar | 20 Mar, 2010 01:43:16

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It is unlikely that you meet an internet user who has not heard nor used the Instant Messaging (IM) system. There are about a million IM subscribers around the globe exchanging messages every minute of every day. Sure enough, you may have at least one or a number of registered IM accounts or is at least familiar with how the service works. Right? This article aims to discover IM, its roots, development and features leading to its success.  

For the most part, the e-mail proved to be a convenient channel of sending information compared to the conventional (letters, snail mail) method. However, as more and more people jumped into the internet wagon their demand to get the quickest response without having to do so much was inevitable. Thus, it became the strongest selling point of IM making it more popular than the e-mail service. IM notifies you if the person is online and lets you talk real-time by sending messages to each other similar to what you would do over the telephone.

IM, allows you to keep a list of people you can send messages to. Their names are stored on your buddy list or contact list.  Usually, an icon appears beside their names that tells you if that person is online (available) or not (offline). Also, a small (chat) window visible to both users is where messages are being typed.

Instant Messaging programs have these common features such as:
Instant messages – Sending of notes back and forth
Chat – Creating a chat room
Web links – Sharing links of popular or favorite websites
Video – Sending, viewing videos and chatting face to face
Images – sharing of images kept on another person’s computer
Sounds – Playing sounds for your online friends
Files – exchanging of files
Talk – communicating via the internet
Streaming content – accessing real-time news or stock rates and last but yet a great addition to its unique abilities is Mobile capability – Sending instant messages to your fiend’s cell phone whenever necessary to get you that immediate response you need. 

America Online (AOL), Prodigy and CompuServe, were among the earliest instant messaging service providers. They provide the interface that allows you to connect to their service and lets you IM your friends storing every response being sent and received. Most of today’s IM utilities used the ICQ model as the basis for their programs. ICQ is one of the primary, free IM service introduced in 1996 and was later on acquired by AOL.

Although, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) remains as the IM pioneer a number of service providers have gained steady ground in the internet scene. Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk are among them. However, there are providers that allow users to log on simultaneously on various IM services such as Trillian and Pidgin.

Modern IM providers initiated additional capabilities to the IM service. Integration of IM with e-mail service that enables users to receive e-mail notifications while using IM supported by Yahoo! Google and MSN. Through, Windows Live Messenger conversation between gamers (XBOX 360) is made possible. 

IM scored a huge hit since its creation and entry into the online world. Its fascinating and continuously evolving features is a solid indication of how highly the service is being patronized. If you still do not have an IM account NOW is the perfect time to have one or more.  Log on and be an IMer!
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