Skip to main content

Best instant messaging clients

best instant messaging clientTruth be told, you probably don’t need a desktop instant messaging client. Chances are pretty good that you’re already in your browser, hooked in to any number of Web-based communication platforms with all your contacts – Facebook, Google Chat, Skype, etc. Since you’ve already got such quick access to all your contacts right from your browser, switching over to a desktop chat client isn’t always necessary, but we realize that they do still come in handy in certain situations.

For example, here at Digital Trends we use chat for quick inter-office communication to save our email inboxes from getting clogged up with countless brief messages, and we don’t have to get up from our desks to ask somebody in another room a question. We don’t all use the same chat clients, but these instant messaging clients combine all the services we use into one simple communication tool.

We’ve all got different preferences, and after taking a quick office poll, we’ve come to a general consensus on the five best instant messaging clients – no matter what operating system you’re on.

Adium

adiumAdium is a multi-protocol chat client for Mac OS X. Among the handful of Mac users here in the office, Adium is the client of choice. It includes a Cocoa interface that’s clean, simple, and designed for maximum convenience. As with any multi-protocol chat client, Adium supports dozens of services (AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Gtalk, etc) and allows you to chat with all of your contacts, no matter which client they happen to be using.

Pidgin

Pidgin-256Much like Adium, Pidgin is a chat program that lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time. We like it because it packs one of the best interfaces we’ve seen in a chat client and it runs on nearly any operating system that isn’t OS X.

Google Talk

google_talkAnd now to address the large elephant in the room: Gtalk. If you already have a Gmail account, you’ve probably used the Web-based version before – it’s built into the sidebar of your Gmail account. Download the desktop app, and you get all the simplicity and advanced functionality you’d expect from a Google service. It’s multi-protocol and allows you to log in with other chat accounts, but also has the drawback of only working on Windows-based computers.    

Trillian

whack_trillianContinuing the parade of excellent multi-protocol instant messaging programs, we now come to Trillian. In terms of functionality, Trillian isn’t all that different from the others listed here. However, it does have a few unique features that you can’t get with other programs – stuff like custom skins and a mobile app that lets you IM on the go. The basic version is free, but Trillian also offers paid-for Pro accounts if you want extra features.

Digsby

digsbyDigsby is a great chat client, but it does more than just that. The app touts itself as a unified place for all your social networking, email, and instant messaging needs. Sure, some of the other programs listed here also boast social media and email integration, but Digsby was the one who started the trend. And since they’ve been offering this type of unified service for longer than anyone else, they’ve had more time to work out the kinks and make it extra simple and convenient.

Did we not mention a service that deserves to be named among the best instant messaging clients? Leave a comment below to fill us in on what program you use and why you like it so much!

Editors' Recommendations

Drew Prindle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Drew Prindle is an award-winning writer, editor, and storyteller who currently serves as Senior Features Editor for Digital…
How to make a GIF from a YouTube video
woman sitting and using laptop

Sometimes, whether you're chatting with friends or posting on social media, words just aren't enough -- you need a GIF to fully convey your feelings. If there's a moment from a YouTube video that you want to snip into a GIF, the good news is that you don't need complex software to so it. There are now a bunch of ways to make a GIF from a YouTube video right in your browser.

If you want to use desktop software like Photoshop to make a GIF, then you'll need to download the YouTube video first before you can start making a GIF. However, if you don't want to go through that bother then there are several ways you can make a GIF right in your browser, without the need to download anything. That's ideal if you're working with a low-specced laptop or on a phone, as all the processing to make the GIF is done in the cloud rather than on your machine. With these options you can make quick and fun GIFs from YouTube videos in just a few minutes.
Use GIFs.com for great customization
Step 1: Find the YouTube video that you want to turn into a GIF (perhaps a NASA archive?) and copy its URL.

Read more
I paid Meta to ‘verify’ me — here’s what actually happened
An Instagram profile on an iPhone.

In the fall of 2023 I decided to do a little experiment in the height of the “blue check” hysteria. Twitter had shifted from verifying accounts based (more or less) on merit or importance and instead would let users pay for a blue checkmark. That obviously went (and still goes) badly. Meanwhile, Meta opened its own verification service earlier in the year, called Meta Verified.

Mostly aimed at “creators,” Meta Verified costs $15 a month and helps you “establish your account authenticity and help[s] your community know it’s the real us with a verified badge." It also gives you “proactive account protection” to help fight impersonation by (in part) requiring you to use two-factor authentication. You’ll also get direct account support “from a real person,” and exclusive features like stickers and stars.

Read more
Here’s how to delete your YouTube account on any device
How to delete your YouTube account

Wanting to get out of the YouTube business? If you want to delete your YouTube account, all you need to do is go to your YouTube Studio page, go to the Advanced Settings, and follow the section that will guide you to permanently delete your account. If you need help with these steps, or want to do so on a platform that isn't your computer, you can follow the steps below.

Note that the following steps will delete your YouTube channel, not your associated Google account.

Read more