In this post I’m posting reviews about different multi-protocol messengers. Multi-protocol messenger is different from normal messenger in a way that you can connect to all your IM buddies using one single messenger. This means you can log in to multiple accounts on multiple IM networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on AOL Instant Messenger, talking to a friend on Yahoo Messenger, and sitting in an IRC channel all at the same time.
As usual, there are many in the market and posting here review about three – Pidgin, Mirinda IM, Trillian. I don’t think I need to tell you explicitly that all three are freeware as its part of my policy to write only about free things.
1. Pidgin – Homepage | Download | Screenshot
This is my favorite and I also use this personally. This is open-source and available for Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and Windows. It is compatible with AIM (Oscar and TOC protocols), ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, and Zephyr networks.
Pidgin supports many features of the various networks, such as file transfer, away messages, typing notification, and MSN window closing notification. It also goes beyond that and provides many unique features. A few popular features are Buddy Pounces, which give the ability to notify you, send a message, play a sound, or run a program when a specific buddy goes away, signs online, or returns from idle; and plug-ins, consisting of text replacement, a buddy ticker, extended message notification, iconify on away, and more.
2. Mirinda IM – Homepage | Download | Screenshots
Miranda IM is designed to be resource efficient and easy to use. It uses very little memory and requires no installation. Just unzip and run! This also makes it ideal for users that want to run their messenger client from a removable storage such as an USB memory stick. It can even be stored on a floppy disc if not too many plugins are used.
The powerful plugin system makes Miranda IM extremely flexible. Only the most basic features are built in, but there are currently more than 200 plugins available for download that allows users to extend the functionality in Miranda IM. Plugins can be installed to add support for ICQ, AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, Gadu-Gadu, Tlen, Netsend and other protocols.
3. Trillian – Homepage | Download | Screenshots
Trillian is a chat client for Windows only, that allows you to simultaneously connect to AIM, ICQ, IRC, MSN and Yahoo! Messenger.
It supports docking, multiline edit boxes, buddy alerts, multiple connections to the same medium, a powerful skinning language, easy importing of your existing contacts, skinnable emoticons, logging, global away/invisible features, and a unified contact list. It has a direct connection for AIM, support for user profiles, complete type formatting, buddy icons, proxy support, emotisounds, encrypted instant messaging to ICQ and AIM, AIM group chats, and shell extensions for file transfers.