War of the Instant Messengers

Cory Blog, Software, Windows

AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, Windows Live, ICQ, Jabber, Myspace IM, Gadu-Gadu… what’s the deal? So many Instant Messenger Clients, so little time, so many programs to run at once in order to chat with all my friends on all these different accounts. (I’m not speaking personally, but it sounds more like the situation of a 14 year old girl.) Well, whether you’re on a MAC or a PC, loose all the variety of programs and get just one, single application to manage them all. It’s called a Multi-Protocol Instant Messaging Client, and there are a few to choose from. The two clients that I like (at the moment), have varying differences, and different looks depending on what you go for.

Pidgin is small, simple, yet useful application that works with AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MySpaceIM, QQ, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, XMPP, Yahoo! and Zephyr (just to name a few). You can log on to all of these accounts at the same time. It even tells you if you have email. Directly from the site: “Pidgin supports many features of the various networks, such as file transfer, away messages, and typing 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 plugins, consisting of text replacement, a buddy ticker, extended message notification, iconify on away, spell checking, tabbed conversations, and more.”
Pidgin IS pretty simple, maybe too simple for some, but I noticed it only took up about 21K in system resources. Pidgin is also based on
GTK+, which, honestly, I don’t understand and I don’t know anyone who does. If you want to modify the look or the way it works, you have to modify some system files that have to do with GTK+, and who knows how to do that. Their website doesn’t even clearly show you HOW if you wanted to. Very disappointing if you ask me. But low system usage and simplicity make this program worth the run about.

Digsby is an IM program I recently came across and had to try it out. Right out of the box I noticed it was more like the other programs I have used with a few skins, and more understandable features. Digsby also can connect you all the major IM services and notifies you of any email you’ve received, but it goes even further and connects you to your social services like Facebook and Myspace. Both Pidgin & Digsby allow you to rename your contacts with an alias so you don’t have to remember buddy names- a must have for today. Right from the IM chat window, you can email or send text messages to your friends. If you minimize the IM window, you can see popups of new IM’s. Best of all, you can reply right from the popup and get back to what you were doing. Also like Pidgin, Digsby can handle file transfers, but unlike the rival, Digsby utilizes Audio and Video Chat. And your Away status is more fun with Digsby. You can select “Listening To” as your status and it will display the song you currently have playing. One of the major downfalls, however, of this program is that it uses between 50 and 90K as seen in the Windows Task Manager. But with all the added features over Pidgin, and the customization, I’m not sure which one to settle on. So in the meantime, I will just keep them both and use which ever one depending on my mood.

(For MAC, use AdiumX)