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!

Social Media

Instagram’s new Explore grid tempts you to open your wallet

Instagram has made some changes to its Explore tab that might tempt you into the occasional shopping spree. It's also planning to add Stories to the grid, mixing them up with the existing photos and videos.
Social Media

6 easy ways to archive all of your favorite Instagram videos

Saving Instagram videos should be just as easy as taking a screenshot. So, we've put together a list of the best apps and tools that save your favorite Instagram videos onto your phone or computer.
Social Media

Be the master of your own Insta-verse with multiple Instagram accounts

Whether you own a small business or have separate Instagram accounts for your five cats, we'll walk you through the process of switching between your multiple accounts on your Apple or Android devices.
Social Media

A fond farewell to Grumpy Cat, the internet’s most famous feline

We say farewell and fondly remember Grumpy Cat, the internet's famous frowning feline and a genuine sweetheart, who died at the age of seven. Even tempered and tolerant, Grumpy Cat was in real life the opposite of her online persona.
Mobile

Treat your selfie with one of these 13 apps made to beautify your pics

Selfies might be a phenomenon second only to karaoke, but they're not the easiest thing in the world to create. Thankfully, these awesome selfie apps for Android and iOS will make beautifying your self-portraits easier than capturing them.
Web

Creators of WhatsApp attack software face lawsuit from Amnesty International

This week a spyware attack was launched on WhatsApp. Now the Israeli firm linked to that attack is facing a lawsuit from human rights NGO Amnesty International, alleging their software has been used to surveil human rights defenders.
Mobile

New York could dish out fines for texting while crossing the street

Do you text on your phone while crossing the street? The dangers of stepping out in front of a car or bus are obvious, but in New York, offenders could soon face a fine of as much as $250, too.
Social Media

Help wanted: British royal family seeks social media wiz to run its accounts

The British royal family is looking for a social media expert to help it communicate its role and activities to the masses. So if you like the idea of having the Queen as your boss, why not throw your hat in the ring?
Social Media

Millions of Instagram influencers reportedly had private data exposed online

As many as 49 million Instagram influencers have reportedly had their private data exposed in an online database that had no password protection. The database was apparently created by a marketing firm and has been taken offline.
Social Media

Twitter co-founder Ev Williams still wants to save the world

Social media is evil, leading to a mental health crisis in Gen Z and a rise in hate speech. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel, says Ev Williams, the co-founder of Twitter. But weaning ourselves off today's social media won't be…
Social Media

Facebook gets a bad rap, former exec says, but we should break it up anyway

The rise of hate speech, the trolling, the comment on Facebook? Not Facebook's fault, says Alex Stamos, the social network's former chief security officer. But the site should still be broken up, he says.
Web

What is Reddit? A beginner’s guide to the front page of the internet

If you spend much time online, you've probably heard of Reddit. Here, we break down the terminology, perks, and inner workings of everyone's favorite social platform. Understanding the "front page of the internet" has never been so easy.
Mobile

Looking for love or just some fun? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.
Social Media

Vertical video haters win the war — Instagram’s IGTV has a horizontal view

Not yet sold on the idea of vertical video? The traditional horizontal aspect ratio is headed to Instagram's IGTV, thanks to today's update. The change allows horizontal images to fill the screen with the device rotated.