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!

Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Computing

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.