With Meebo out of the picture following Google’s acquisition, refugee users are undoubtedly wondering which aggregated chatting system they should make their next home. Imo.im, a standalone aggregated communications platform that allows you to talk to friends on 13 of the most popular instant messaging services on one platform, may be the leading substitute.
Facebook, GTalk and AIM are among the most used services, but you’ll even find Steam, Skype and VKontake, the European competitor to Facebook. The service’s offerings are comprehensive, and its growth has been skyrocketing. The service currently sees 600,000 active daily users, and was host to just over 7 million unique users in 2011.
The platform is intuitive to use, with a large centered chat box, and a list of friends listed on the right-hand column. Unlike on Meebo, messages are sent and recieved instantaneously. CEO Ralph Harik says the team has been meticulously ridding its platform of bugs over the months.
With Meebo Messenger shutting down on July 11, 2012, its users must download their chat logs before July 11 to keep them. Imo.im will ease the transition process by allowing former Meebo users to import their chat histories directly from Meebo to imo.im. While you’re providing another third-party platform a history your conversations, there’s a benefit to the transition: Digging up archived messages on imo.im is fast due to its robust search engine, which imo.im prides itself on. “We have a really nice chat history search engine, so our users can search through their chat history really quickly,” Harik said.
Its mobile apps, on Android, iOS, and Blackberry devices, enable seamless interactions between users and their friends on any device no matter what network they’re on. “If you’re on both the Web and mobile and you step away to go to lunch, but someone sends you a message, we try to send your message to your most active device. If you don’t mark the message as read, we will then send your message to all of your devices,” Harik told us.
Other basic features include voice IM and group chat, and a voice calling feature for both Android and iOS devices, currently in development. The team is also experimenting with “people discovery,” which may become the next big trend in social media, thanks to AirTime and even Facebook’s now pulled Find Friends Nearby.
“Meeting people outside of your existing social circle is really important, and new people will have a big impact on your life if they’re the right person,” Harik said. “One product that imo.im is starting to develop is a feature that will introduce you to new people so you can have great conversations with them and have a great impact on your life.” Currently imo.im offers an alpha iteration of this discovery widget that sits on the left-hand side of a user’s imo.im chat window.
Unlike Meebo, which built out auxillary social products including its Meebo Bar, Harik assured us that imo.im has no plans for building products outside of its suite of social media communication products. “We as a company are just interested in building social software that people will use on a daily basis,” Harik said. In fact, imo.im doesn’t even have any plans for enterprise chat tools.
Since the bulk of Meebo’s revenue was made by the Meebo Bar and not by its messenger platform, how will imo.im turn a profit?
“Right now we’re really focusing on user growth and scaling the site. There are things that we might try like inserting ads in our site. When we do that, we want it to be targeted and useful to the users,” Harik told us. Maybe imo.im will find inspiration in Skype’s latest efforts to monetize its free users using banner ads. Or maybe there could be money in allowing third-party developers to develop apps using its upcoming API.
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