Short for Instant Messenger, IM is a software utility that allows users connected to the Internet or a corporate network to send text messages and files between other IM users. Below is a short listing of some of the popular and widely used instant messenger programs available today.
- AOL AIM (ICQ) - http://www.aim.com/
- Google Talk - http://www.google.com/talk/
- Skype - http://www.skype.com
- Jabber - http://www.jabber.org/
- MSN Messenger - http://messenger.msn.com/
- Yahoo! Messenger - http://messenger.yahoo.com/
- Gadu-Gadu - http://www.gadu-gadu.pl/ (Polish language)
- QQ (OICQ) - http://www.qq.com/ (Chinese language)
In the picture to the right, is an example graphic of what ICQ looked like. One of the first widely used Internet instant messenger programs.
Because the companies supporting and developing IM software are competitors, almost all of the above programs are not compatible with each other. This means if you're on AIM and you have a friend using MSN, you'll be unable to talk with each other unless you or your friend gets the same instant messenger. Programs such as Trillian and Gaim have been created that allow users to have all instant messengers in the same program; however, they still operate over different networks.