When it was first on the scene 10 years ago, ICQ was the undisputed king of instant messaging , but now the aging client is overshadowed by many of the competitors it spawned. The company hopes to rekindle its former popularity with the launch of ICQ 6.0 on Wednesday.
Developers tore down ICQ’s old user interface to replace it with one that has been completely revamped. The intent was to keep all communication organized into a single window. Other new features include tabbed browsing of conversations, “quick IMs” that can be sent without a new window, and an improved search of user history and contacts. Two-way SMS will also allow users to send text messages to cell phones from their PCs, and vice versa. Oddly enough, the newest release also includes a soundtrack from the Israeli psy-trance group Infected Mushroom.
Although not new to this version, the program also comes with voice and video calling in addition to its standard instant messaging capabilities, making it a competitor with other free services such as Skype, AOL Instant Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger).
“Anyone who’s ever used ICQ will immediately see that ICQ 6 is not just an upgrade but rather a genuine reinvention of the entire IM experience”, said Orey Gilliam, CEO of ICQ, in a press release.
ICQ 6.0 is available for download immediately.