Communicate simultaneously with friends that use different Instant Messengers on your Mac desktop
If you want to communicate simultaneously with friends that use different Instant Messengers (IM) like AOL, ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, Jabber and IRC, you should install a multi-protocol chat client, which can connect to different IM services, on your computer. FIRE is a multi-protocol chat client for Mac users and supports all of the above mentioned IM services.
You can import your contacts to Fire from other applications or manually create a buddy list. Fire displays both online and off-line buddies utilizing a different icon for each IM service (MSN, Yahoo, etc.). Fire's logging features allow you to keep track of what you have talked about in different chat sessions. Fire is also a good choice if you want to chat with people who speak different languages since it supports on-the-fly translation of messages into several languages.
Fire is adds-free, allows for chat encryption and offers you also some options to customize your chat window. As it is open-source, it is continuously being further developed and improved. Be aware that Fire is not able to support all features of each individual IM service.
If you want to read more about personal experiences with FIRE, you should have a look at the user opinions on Cnet.
If you are interested in alternative single-protocol and multi-protocol chat clients compatible with the Mac, read Robin Good's article on New breeds of instant messengers.
A complementary article, focusing exclusively on instant messengers for the Mac, has been published by Rob McNair-Huff.
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