Ask dotTechies: What instant messaging services do you use and what is the best instant messaging client?

When was instant messaging first created? I believe back in the 1960s. I, personally, first started instant messaging when my friend, back way in the olden days, introduced me to AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). To this day I still use AIM but have also branched out to other instant messaging services like MSN and Yahoo. Today instant messaging has grown to such a huge phenomenon, not only in the Ashraf household but throughout the whole world, it is said one of the largest sources of revenue for cell phone service providers is charging an instant message as a text message/SMS; this way customers unknowingly instant message from their cell phones all day and get billed for every instant message as a text message/SMS. (Sucks for the people who don’t have an unlimited texting/SMS plan!)

That being said, my poll for this week is along the lines of instant messaging: What instant messaging services do you use and what is the best instant messaging client? Because of the fact nowadays there are instant messaging clients which are not IM service providers in of themselves but rather a cohort of other popular instant messaging services, this week’s Ask dotTechies is broken up into two polls:

  • The first poll consists of asking what instant messaging services do you use. An instant messaging “service” is something that you must sign up a username for and can have your own friends/buddy list associated with that username. Instant messaging services are things like AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Facebook Chat, MySpace IM, ICQ, Google Talk, etc.
  • The second poll consists of asking what is the best instant messaging program. An instant messaging “client” is a program or  web service that allows users to use one or more instant messaging service. Instant messaging clients are programs or web services like AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk client, Digsby, Miranda, Trillian, Meebo, etc.

Feel free to only answer one poll but I do highly encourage participation in both polls:

NOTE: I recognize the fact many people use multiple different instant messaging services; I myself use multiple ones. Therefore, for the first poll everyone can select multiple services to vote for – just check the checkboxes of the services you want to vote for. The second poll, however, is limited to selecting one client as “the best”.

[poll id=”7″] [poll id=”8″]

Got anything to say about instant messaging? Let us know by posting in the comments below!

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  • o(o.o)o

    For general im purposes, Pidgin suits my needs. But when it comes to voice and video, I use Skype.

  • I love just because I can use it from any computer and only have to remember one login. For me this is very convenient for those times when I am working on someones computer and need to talk to someone. I used to use Trillian before I discovered meebo.

  • Mags

    Currently I use MSN Messenger (Not Windows Messenger as it isn’t the same thing) However, I don’t use it as much as I used to as it is distracting while trying to work.

    Originally I used ICQ – back in the day when MSN Messenger was just an idea.

  • jumbi

    I use MSN because my friends colleques use it.
    I dont like it and the first thing I did was to find a way to stop all these advertisements.

    I havent voted for which is the best as I havent tried others except skype.

  • Pseudo

    My first messenger was ICQ
    MSN Live is my choice for Instant Messenger. I tried YM for awhile but gave up on it because it wants to take over everything. MSN Live does everything I need and more in a messenger.

  • ande

    Going outside I use AIM 5.9 – no overhead, etc.
    In the office, Microsoft Live Messenger has no close rival for the ease of communicating, sending files, and hosting video conferences on the fly.

  • J. L., just like how I prefer webmail over e-mail clients. Same with using Open It Online instead of OpenOffice.

    Rather not install anything other than system utilities and security apps on my OS.

  • Jenny

    I use trillian because it does all the chats my friends use but I only need one prog, it doesn’t keep cycling ads and when I was on dial up the ads would be served/cycled before I could receive a comment, taking AGES

  • Aesar

    Oh, boy… I am way too busy writing code or technical papers to spend any extra time trying to IM in a chat session. If I need to chat with somebody then I talk to somebody. IM is a pain.

  • Your Name

    What about IRC?

    I prefer to use IRC and the program “X-Chat 2” (aka YChat).

  • Orchid

    I use YM mostly. It doesn’t always work with MSN/Windows Live contacts…..however MSN/Windows Live doesn’t always work with YM either. Not surprising since it’s a Microsoft program,

    One main reason for using YM is most of those I need to be in contact with only use YM and we have to have regular, and almost daily conferences. Since the other IMs do not support the integration between themselves and YM in regards to conferences I have no other choice really.

    I do have MSN/Windows Live, another IM, as well as Trillion, and use those when no conferences are needed. mIRC is used almost daily, or another IRC program…depending on which computer and/or system I’m using.

    Would be really nice to find a program that integrates ALL the functions/ options, and features of those they supposedly support and integrate with,

  • Digsby is great, and is being improved constantly. Solid choice, methinks. :P

  • @Quro@75: You might want to try Trillium Astra, Pidgin, Digsby (make sure to unselect crapware) or Meebo. They all work on both systems.

  • Helmer

    Im using Pidgin. Albeit a bit primitive its light on resources and does what it is supposed to do.

  • The main reason I use YM because lot of my friends use it although I am prefer to use Google Talk. YM so bloated. But what can I do, the hood just push me into it..

  • Serivce:

    I talk to people on Yahoo, but since I don’t have a yahoo acount I didn’t vote for it.

    I admit I havn’t used to many clients so I’m not in a position to comment to well but I happen to like WLM very much.

    As to the other, it’s an IM service I’m making for use in games or the like. Not that great yet but it works.

  • Joshua

    Are you people kidding?!?!?!?

    The Skype client has a way better interface, is way more reliable, and way lighter on system resources than MSN! Vote for it! It will always second most used, yet always the best!

  • Darthyoda

    The only chatting that I sometimes do is through mIRC.

  • Hmmm, this poll seems familiar to me. (Oh wait- I know why!)

  • ZionPercona

    I use Windows Live, and Yahoo (even though I can use WLM for chatting with Yahoo)

    I think WLM is best, with Messenger Plus. With messenger plus, it becomes very customizable. Which is one of the main reasons I use WLM. I’ve tried Digsby, Trillian, and Pidgin, but I didn’t like how they grouped my contact list into one thing (tabbed contact lists, would be nice though).