Top Ten sites: talk and instant messaging

Top 10 sites: chat and instant messaging

Best of the web

12:00AM GMT 01 Nov 2001

The grandfather of talk applications, Instant Messenger was very first introduced on AOL’s online service and then expanded for use across the internet. See when your friends log on and send them messages swifter than the speed of email.

Now wielded by AOL, ICQ (I seek you, geddit?) was the very first internet-based instant messaging program and became phenomenally successful in a very brief space of time. A classic case of viral marketing and an essential program for many people.

  • Microsoft belatedly attempted to muscle in on the instant talk arena. To get it now, you have to sign up for a Passport account and become part of the Big M’s strategy to take over the online world.

  • Very organised subject-based talk rooms, mostly with a US leaned. If none of the rooms take your fancy, create your own.

  • The very first internet talk application was (and still is) largely the preserve of the geekier elements online. The unfriendly text-based command-line interface could have something to do with it.

  • “A non stop 24-hour party island.” Choose an on-screen avatar that matches your mood, pick a phrase and let the talk commence.

  • A great-looking Shockwave site that is proving popular with teenagers. Talking in the hotel is free, but members can pay for extras such as text messages and mobile phone logos.

  • Hundreds of talk rooms dedicated to hundreds of topics. Download the Yahoo! Messenger program to keep in touch with friends without having to visit the web-based talk rooms. The latest version gives users the capability to stream popular music, play games and create cartoon backgrounds while they talk.

  • The self-proclaimed “ultimate avatar talk community” is not so ultimate when you realise you have to pay for the service, either by dialling in on a local rate number or forking out $9.95 (?7) a month. Why pay when so many are free?

  • Reminisce when talk rooms were the greatest known danger to children? Carol Vorderman certainly does. She is still online to give parents and their offspring some sensible advice for staying safe online.

  • Last week’s Top Ten sites: Hallowe’en
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