A multiprotocol instant messaging application is a client software comprised of an IM application which can seamlessly connect to multiple IM networks (via Wikipedia). These IM clients can connect to AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber (including Google Talk, Gizmo, and other Jabber-based networks), MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger etc.
The major ad-supported, commercial IM networks have many times attempted to block multi-protocol clients through rapid small changes to their protocols. However, the relentless efforts by multi-protocol clients developers to restore the interoperability between these networks eventually made them realize that they could not oppose the development of multi-protocol clients anyway.
Main advantage of multiprotocol IM clients is that it provides an unified interface using witch one can login to multiple IM networks such as AOL IM, Yahoo Messenger, Gtalk etc
There are many such multi-protocol IM clients out there. Here are the best ones that you could try. We will keep updating this post for more IM clients like Adium, iChat and Proteus for Mac OS soon.
Multi-protocol IM clients
Digsby (for Windows, Linux and Mac OS) offers a lot of features;
- Instant Messaging – Digsby is a multiprotocol IM client that lets you chat with all your friends on AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, and Jabber with one simple to manage buddy list.
- E-mail notification – Digsby is an email notification tool that alerts you of new email and lets you perform actions such as ‘Delete’ or ‘Report Spam’ with just one click.
- Social Networking – Digsby is a social networking tool that alerts you of events like new messages and gives you a live Newsfeed of what your friends are up to.
Pidgin (for Windows and Linux), formerly known as Gaim, is a multi-platform instant messaging client. The software has support for many commonly used instant messaging protocols, allowing the user to log into various different services from one application. It is popular and had 3 million users in 2007.
Pidgin supports many protocols like, Bonjour (Apple’s implementation of Zeroconf), Gadu-Gadu, Internet Relay Chat, Lotus Sametime, MySpaceIM, Windows Live Messenger, Novell GroupWise, OSCAR (AIM/ICQ/.Mac), SIMPLE, SILC, XMPP (Jabber, Google Talk), Yahoo!, Zephyr
VoxOx (for Windows and Mac OS) is a next generation IM client where you get a comprehensive call functionalities with “One-Number Follow-Me” feature. You can have a single VoxOx number identity, you can make all your phone numbers ring when someone calls your VoxOx number, call forwarding to any PSTN phone is another advantage. VoxOx is sure to bring in all the features of Unified Communications in the coming releases. Besides this, It allows sending text messages to selected mobile operators in the US, integrates with major social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, and enables flexibility for integrating existing and future applications due to its open standards platform. Currently, AIM, MSN, Google Talk, Yahoo, ICQ and other XMPP based networks.
Kopete (for Linux, Windows and Mac OS) is a multi-protocol, free software instant messaging client. Although it can run in numerous environments, it was designed for and integrates with the KDE desktop environment. Supports, .NET Messenger Service, AOL Instant Messenger, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu (mostly broken in current releases), ICQ, Jabber (XMPP) with jingle for voice (same as Google Talk uses), Lotus Sametime via the Meanwhile plugin, Novell GroupWise, QQ, SMS, Skype (via Kopete Skype) (deprecated), Winpopup Windows’ legacy network messenger service, Yahoo! Messenger
Gathera (for windows) organizes and integrates Web applications and services into the browser sidebar and offers an easy user experience to you. Gathera is completely FREE for use. You can now seamlessly share, view, and respond to many types of social content across multiple online services.
Miranda IM is an open source multiprotocol instant messaging application that supports many protocols such as AIM, Bonjour, Battle.net, Fetion, Gadu-Gadu, Inter-Asterisk eXchange, ICQ, IRC, Jabber (& Google Talk), Lotus Sametime, NetSend, MySpace, .NET Messenger Service (MSN), Tencent QQ, SIP, Skype (requires Skype), Tlen.pl, Xfire and Yahoo! Messenger. It is customizable and plug-ins are available to do that.
Trillian is a proprietary multiprotocol instant messaging application for Windows created by Cerulean Studios that can connect to multiple IM services, such as AIM, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, IRC etc. Trillian Pro has support for Novell’s GroupWise messenger, Jabber etc. However, Trillian Pro costs 25$. Do check if you really need this becasue IMs like Pidgin, Miranda offer a lot for free!
Image source: All logos have been taken from their respective official websites.