Remember ICQ, some of you may still use it today but back in the mid 90’s it was one of the first instant messengers to really take-off and become popular. Shortly after, AOL’s Instant Messenger became a hit followed by others developed by Microsoft and Yahoo. Eventually we saw clients introduced that supported multiple protocols like Pidgin, Trillian, Digsby, and Adium.
Over the years we’ve seen messengers develop from simple clients used just to send text back and forth to clients that support video conferencing, desktop sharing, file sharing, and more. We’ve also seen instant messaging come to mobile devices, and social networks. It’s amazing just how much it has spread and developed over the years.
Today we’ll be taking a look at two different Instant Messenger clients, iChat and Windows Live Messenger to see how they compare and point out some of their features.
About Windows Live Messenger (link)
This is one of those things that I probably don’t have to explain, but just in case, we’ll go over what Windows Live Messenger is. It’s Microsoft’s instant messaging client and it was released back in December of 2005. Prior to that, Microsoft’s instant messaging client was MSN Messenger. Features include:
- PC-to-PC Calling
- Full-screen video conversations
- Sharing of folders
- Send text messages to your friends
- Receive Windows live alerts right in messenger – traffic, sports scores, etc.
- Send messages to contacts that are offline
- Play games
What’s nice with Windows Live Messenger is that back in 2005, Yahoo and Microsoft decided to introduce interoperability between their messengers so now those using Microsoft’s messenger and those using Yahoo’s messenger can talk to contacts from both.
Another great thing which we’ve mentioned before is the “i’m” initiative which allows users to give-back without needing to do a thing.
About iChat (link)
iChat is Apple’s instant messaging client but what’s nice about it is that it works with AIM, .MAC, ICQ, and is also an XMPP client. Using Jabber, iChat users can also use the service for talking with friends on Google Talk.
One interesting feature with iChat is that they cater to those who may be color blind. Typically they use red, green, and yellow dots to symbolize when someone is either online, away, or idle but for those who are color blind, they can change it to show shapes that symbolize the status.
Features of iChat include:
- Option to go invisible so you can see who is online but people can’t see that you’re online.
- SMS forwarding
- File transfer Manager
- Use multiple logins
- Chats are tabbed
- Awesome video chat
Advantages of using Windows Live Messenger
Things we like about Windows Live Messenger include the option to completely customize the interface including changing the color of the window. They also offer a really great sharing experience where users can easily share files between their contacts. Users can also share entire folders with contacts which means sharing folders full of photos and documents is simple. Voice calling is also nice because users can call landline and mobile phones. You do have to purchase minutes upfront, but it is an affordable way to make phone calls. If you make PC to PC calls, it’s free.
Advantages of using iChat
I think the single best part about using iChat is the Video Chat feature. If two people either have a camera built-in or a camera connected to their computers, you’ll be able to have a video chat. They’ve made it even more fun by integrating some Photo Booth effects that you can apply to your chat. If you decide to use them, your video will change and the person you’re chatting with will see the effect you chose. You can even video conference with up to four different people which is nice as well.
Wrapping it up
Overall I’d say iChat is the better messenger and one of those reasons is simply because they did a fantastic job integrating video chat. It’s amazing!
Have a favorite messenger or a favorite feature in a messenger service? Let us know in the comments below!
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