If you are looking for a way to connect to your favorite instant messaging network without having to install any kind of software on your computer you have certainly come to the right place.
We all know that instant messaging represents the most popular form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. This type of communication is generally possible through the use of appropriate client software that needs to be installed on computers connected over a network such as the Internet.
However, the necessity to boost cross-platform communication has recently generated a major need for instant messaging applications that could be used by anybody, independently of the operating system they were adopting and - more importantly - without the need to download and install anything on the computer.
In this mini-guide I have reviewed for you the most popular services that allow you to access your favorite instant messaging networks from any browser and any operating system, without the need to install software. At the end of the mini-guide you will also find a handy set of tables allowing you to easily compare all the different tools that have been featured here.
As always, you are more than welcome to suggest and revise our data through the comment section available at the bottom of the article.
Yahoo! Web Messenger
Yahoo! Web Messenger is the web-based version of the popular instant messaging client and protocol provided by Yahoo!. Yahoo! Web Messenger is free of charge and can be used with a generic "Yahoo! ID", which also allows access to other Yahoo! services, such as Yahoo! Mail, where users can be automatically notified when they receive new email. Yahoo! Web Messenger also allows you to chat with friends on MSN.
MSN Web Messenger
MSN Web Messenger is the web-based version of MSN Messenger. This service allows you to stay in touch with your contacts and chat with them, but does not allow file sharing and video calls. In order to log in it is necessary to have a Microsoft Passport ID. MSN Web Messenger does not allow you to chat with friends who are on different IM networks.
Meebo is a cool cross-platform, multi-protocol, Ajax-based IM and presence awareness aggregator. The one-page application allows anyone on any computer platform to access and log in to Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AOL IM and ICQ from one unique interface. Similar to desktop applications like Trillian and Gaim, Meebo provides a single buddy list that is automatically populated upon signing into the meebo web site. Free to use.
Kool IM is a web-based IM service that aggregates multiple messengers on one page - AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ and Jabber. Registered users can take advantage of managing their accounts and more. However, registration is not mandatory. Free to use.
I Love IM is a web messenger application that allows you to stay connected with your favorite instant messenger almost anywhere. All you need is a computer with web-browser. There is no need to download and install any software or Java plug-ins into your computer to use I Love IM web instant messenger. I Love IM provides an easy to use web-based interface reflecting the most available features from the original instant messenger
Snimmer is a personal instant messaging web page that helps you stay in touch with your friends. You can chat in a group with all of your friends at once or chat individually via Web IM or regular IM. Through Snimmer you can access different networks, such as MSN, Yahoo, AOL, ICQ, GTalk and Jabber. You can also add your photos and create your profile. Free to use.
Mabber developed a mobile application that lets you chat and send messages wherever you are. Required is a recent mobile phone equipped with Java and some sort of data-plan. After login you can transfer the existing contacts from other instant messaging networks (AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger) to your account. You can use Mabber either on the web or download the mobile client for your Java-enabled phone. With Mabber you can send messages with low cost, as it is cheaper than using SMS text messaging (1 kb of data allows for about 7 messages). Free to use.
Easy Messenger brings you the best free instant messenger service that runs entirely from your web browser. You can combine your MSN, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo! and Jabber contacts into one solution. With the build-in RSS reader you are always up-to-date with your favorite RSS feeds. In order to use Easy Messenger you need to register to the site. Free to use.
IMunitive is a web service that allows you to connect to the MSN instant messaging network and to Yahoo! IM network. IMunitive allows users to personalize their contacts list by adding details and creating groups. In the chat window, you can invite any buddy from a different IM network (e.g. while you are chatting with MSN buddy you can invite other buddy from Yahoo or AIM into the same chat session). IMunitive is free to use but requires users to open an account.
Messenger FX is a web-based service that lets you access the MSN instant messaging network without having to install anything on your computer. The access is protected through encryption and the interface is available in multiple languages. There is no possibility to talk to contacts that are on other IM networks. Free to use.
AIM Express is the web-based version of the popular AOL instant messenger. You can basically access all the most important functions of AIM Please remember that web browsers must allow pop-ups from AIM.com in order for AIM Express to run properly. Free to use.
GTalk is an IM produced by Google and is also completely integrated with the Gmail interface (the popular mailbox offered by Google). Users of Gmail can easily chat within the Gmail page and save conversation, thus having the possibility to use their favorite IM without having to install it on a computer. Free to use.
WeBuzz.IM is a free web-based instant messenger that helps you chat with your friends on Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, ICQ or Jabber / XMPP. Just choose your favorite service from the dock at the bottom of WeBuzz.IM homepage and login with your credentials to get started. No registration is required.
IMO.IM is a free web-based instant messaging solution. By entering your own credentials IMO.IM allows you to access all major instant messaging applications like MSN, Yahoo!, Skype or AIM. You can also access multiple IMs at the same time by linking your preferred accounts to a master username and password. No registration is required.
Web-Based Instant Messengers: Comparison Chart
Livia Iacolare -