Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Web-Based Instant Messengers: A Mini-Guide

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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


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.




eBuddy is a web application that enables you to chat with your MSN, AOL and Yahoo! buddies via your web browser. To use the web version of eBuddy, all you need is a JavaScript enabled browser on your computer and it works even if you are behind a firewall. If you are on the road, you can use the mobile version of eBuddy to chat with your buddies. Every mobile device that supports xHTML or WAP can be used. For more information see the eBuddy mobile-related section.


Radius IM


Radius IM is a free web service that shows you where your buddies are and lets you send instant messages to them. Once you sign up, simply login to Radius IM and choose your geographic location. Your friends will show up on the friends list as icons on a map. You can message your friends on MSN, AOL and Yahoo! Messenger. Radius IM is a completely browser-based application and requires a Javascript enabled browser, which can be either Internet Explorer 6+, Firefox 1.5+ or Safari 1.2+. Free to use.


I LoveIM


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


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


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


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 in order for AIM Express to run properly. Free to use.


Google GTalk


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 -

Readers' Comments    
2011-09-07 02:36:51

Daniel Pat

Thanks for sharing, we would like to recommend BigAnt corporate messenger, We have using it for around 2 years. We love it because it continue adding new features (remote desktop, LDAP support, document management, conference chat mode) and offer 10users license for free.

2011-07-24 05:32:39

Darrick Rose web messenger is awesome one too. It should be in list as well.

2010-02-10 06:18:46


Good review and competition!

2009-09-16 16:40:54


WeBuzz.IM ( ) is a similar web IM provider, providing web Gtalk MSN AIM ICQ JabberXMPP Yahoo! Messenger.

It would be considered as an alternative to eBuddy or Meebo.

2008-11-09 06:16:12

alex david

I am really impressed about this mini guide, because i do research on web messengers too. I am very happy to see your work on comparision chat. Great Work Keep it up Man!

2008-11-07 12:14:57


My work uses websense which blocks any website with "instant messenger" - does anyone know a way around this?

I can't download anything to my computer either.

2008-10-28 21:19:28


This is a comprehensive list of of Instant Messaging clients. Thanks.

Here is one more you should add to the list - a rel=nofollow href=""BigAnt Instant Messengera -

It is a business communication tool. You can create your own Instant Messenger in minutes. It has secure communication and many features like text chat with offline messaging and chat history, text conference, video and voice chat, voice conferencing, voice mail, file transfer, screen-sharing, screenshot, co-browse and whiteboard.

2008-07-09 03:55:08


Hey dude!
Wayta go!
Ya do reelize that the IT duded @ the school now blocked all thees sites??:P
Dats a real bugger,
but ty for the list anyways!!
Deres also, that 1s also quit good

2008-06-30 10:31:46

Gata Celosa

this all would have been very cool to use if i was at a library but i'm not, i'm at school... but if anybody knows of any good proxys holla at me! :)

2008-04-27 01:07:40

Thomas Cain

Hi Robin,

Awsome post, but you should have a look at the messenger they offer with - i find it clean and fast compared to many others.

- Thomas

2008-03-31 04:14:30


U GUYS RULE thnnnnnnnnnnnnnnx

2007-11-12 19:43:05


Great site and lots of web-based messaging clients I didn't know of prior to finding this page. However, I do have to say, all these sites are only good if you are not working at a high profile company with strict administration rights. Thanks for all the good site anyway.

2007-09-19 06:08:40


Works excellent, the eBuddy beta! The only webbased client supporting MySpace IM, great!

Now I can finally use MySpace IM at work:

2007-09-01 21:42:09


This article needs updating
koolim now has gadu gadu, xfire, sametime,jabber
ebuddy now has myspace im
every web IM has some strengths and weaknesses
meebo has a good balence of protocol and setup
koolim while its setup could use some work (the embed buttons suck in the looks department) has the most protocols I know of
ebuddy has one major advantage
myspace IM
but is lacking jabber which both meebo and koolim have

2007-08-27 19:36:15


is there any IM like icq where you can see people who are online from different places and chat with them at random

2007-06-21 22:33:14

richard benson

imunitive now support voice and file transfer plus user do not need to register account before us, unlike other web IM, if you registered, you will have your native buddy (account) from them they called GIM, my friends and colleague use it in case MSN, Yahoo or AIM network outage !

2007-06-14 13:26:56

syahid ali

i've only known and use meebo before. knows ebuddy but seldom use it because of personal preference to meebo. won't let my the system admins know about this site or else they will block all these sites! LOL!

2007-06-08 08:42:53

Livia Iacolare

Thanks to everyone. I have finally updated the chart and added two new items to the list. If you have any feedback please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

2007-06-06 10:09:08


You're wrong in that meebo doesn't offer chat logging - it does, though I'm not sure if you need to register for it or not.

2007-06-06 05:49:56


I Found It Quite Surprising that a couple of these do work on my school computer but are very slow, and the teachers always walk in!!!

2007-06-04 12:29:56


Why not google chat? They do have a chat client that you have to download, BUT there is a web-based version as well.

Here's the launch page:

2007-06-04 10:32:30

Livia Iacolare

Thanks again for your comments and your patience! I'm preparing the updates to the mini-guide and they will be posted shortly.

2007-06-04 10:08:42

Brian Shapiro

I'm really suprised to see AIM Express which is AOL's AIM Web Instant Messenger off the list.

2007-06-04 06:21:56


All of these mentioned here are blocked for me and my collegues :(

2007-06-03 21:30:17


Umm, I agree with most of the criticism, but GAIM (Pidgin) and Miranda are NOT "Web-Based" instant messengers people, hence they aren't be on this list.

2007-06-03 09:56:59

Shane Turner

What about AIM Express?

2007-06-03 07:18:02

Livia Iacolare

Thank you all for your comments. I really appreciate all of your suggestions and I will update the article accordingly.

If you find other interesting web messengers please don't hesitate to let me know: with your kind help this list will become richer and more correct.

2007-06-03 04:47:34


You are missing Plugoo at, which is great to integrate in your website (see mine, ), because allows visitos to post in the blog and it pops up in your Messenger or Gtalk client.

Great tool.

2007-06-03 02:09:41


While I sort of appreciate the apprehension toward programs where a website substitute is available, they simply aren't equipped with any desirable functionality aside from very basic communication. The only circumstance in which these types are applicable in when the program is inaccessible in a working environment you don't govern or if you are utilizing it on a mobile.

2007-06-02 18:11:41


This is an awful excuse for a comparison. It isn't at all accurate.

Please don't quit your day job Robin!

2007-06-02 17:27:51

Siebe Tolsma

I don't agree with your "requires registration" list. Of course MSN Web Messenger, et al, require registration because you need to have an ID to log in to their services. However, the other third party services, such as Meebo, require you to also register with Microsoft, etc., in order to user their services (obviously). Your chart makes it look like one could use, say, MSN Messenger without registering.

2007-06-02 16:35:37


Meebo has text chat recording

2007-06-02 14:58:27


How could you possibly forget Gaim. Or, because of a settlement with AOL, Pidgin.

By far the best out there. I see you don't have anything on there that supports "File Sending" which Pidgin does as well.

2007-06-02 13:34:18


Looks cool, but I'm put off by the need to hand over my various IM passwords to a site that isn't directly connected to the individual messaging companies. Especially when these passwords are so powerful and multi-application, such as Yahoo's (which also admits me to email, Flickr etc etc).

It just feels kind of...wrong to entrust this access to a third party.

2007-06-02 13:23:38


you totally forgot miranda - it does all the standard IM PLUS SKYPE!!!!

2007-06-02 12:46:49


being a meebo user myself, I believe that the comparison chart is a little unfair to meebo, and as such is also probably being unfair to some of the other companies as well. probably not the best comparison, but it did inform me about some other services I didn't know existed.

2007-06-02 10:49:47


Meebo supports multiple-user chats, chat history AND personalised avatars (at least for MSN) so you might want to update your chart there

2007-06-02 10:43:16


In your comparison chart spreadsheet you forgot that Meebo also supports ICQ!

2007-05-20 13:13:57


eBuddy has just launched two new products in Beta: an improved and multi-network version of the web messenger and a downloadable client for mobile phones. The web-beta is closed, but you can still signup for the mobile client. Check

posted by on Sunday, May 20 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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