But this kind of communication usually requires some sort of download and program install. There are lots of multi featured IM clients that can be downloaded, such as Trillian, Pidgin, and Adium. Then there are, of course, the downloadable clients that are specific to the individual chat systems, like AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, etc.
But what if we don't want to download a program? What if we're on a friend's computer or a computer at school and we just simply want to be able to talk people without installing something? That's what web based IM clients are for. Now, most of the big IM systems offer their own web based version. These include AIM Express, MSN Web, Yahoo Web, Google Talk, etc.
While those are certainly useful, what if we want to talk to friends on multiple IM systems without opening a dozen different browser windows or tabs? That's where the multi-system web based IM programs come in. I found three of them that look promising. They are: Imo.im, Meebo, and ebuddy. I'll be testing each of these three over the next three days. I'll spend one entire day using each program exclusively. I know that'll mean turning my installed clients off, but I'll do it in the name of investigative journalism. :-)
Tomorrow I'll use Imo.im, Thursday I'll try Meebo, and on Friday I'll give ebuddy a spin. I'll report back on how I liked or disliked each one. Stay tuned for the reviews!