It’s been nearly four whole years since one of our original articles introducing Meebo, eBuddy, and imo.im. Since then, all three services have advanced greatly and continue to serve millions of users today.
Using these three web-based clients, you’re able to connect to almost any instant messaging protocol and chat with your buddies. As we jump into the world of mobiles, web-based clients are slowly becoming obsolete while everyone hoards apps onto their tablets and smartphones. That doesn’t mean that we’ve all stopped bumming usage of our buddies’ laptops though! Rather than installing the client, these web-based solutions really help.
Let’s start by reintroducing the old
Meebo has branched out into a more complete site, separating their famous messenger from the rest of their developments. It has remain mostly untouched, aside from adding access to several new services.
You can use Meebo Messenger to chat on AIM, Yahoo!, Windows Live, ICQ, Jabber, Google Talk, MySpace, MyYearbook, and Facebook. You can also create a community-specific Meebo username and password that will store all of your IM account credentials, for easy access.
eBuddy is generally the same as Meebo, minus the MyYearbook support. Here’s a screenshot of the Yahoo! interface:
eBuddy and Meebo are practically the gold standard when it comes to web-based clients. They function in such a similar way that one practically renders the other a bit useless (unless your school or workplace happens to block one of them).
Of the three we’ve already covered, imo.im has made the largest steps in advancement.
imo.im now supports Windows Live, Skype, Yahoo!, Google Talk, Facebook, AIM and ICQ, Jabber, VKontakte, MySpace, Hyves, and Steam. It’s a very complete solution that doesn’t get quite as much attention. Skype support is a big plus.
Now for some new stuff!
AirAIM is the most streamlined and lightweight client for web-based IM-ing. As the name entails, it’s only available for AOL Instant Messenger.
A big advantage of AirAIM is that it is relatively unknown. This means that it is probably not filtered out in most workplaces and campuses. Lucky you. AirAIM supports almost everything that the normal 5.9 client would allow you to do, just with no GUI.
To check for new messages, you’ll have to refresh your page. This also works wonders when you’re in James Bond mode, as it won’t pop up or the window won’t flash over your other work. Starting an IM conversation with a buddy is as simple as clicking on their username, typing, and submitting the form. There is also support for setting up your away message. The only core functionality that is not included with AirAIM would be modifying your buddy list.
AirAIM isn’t for everyone, but if you’re concern is having an effective web-based client for AIM with a very little footprint, this is great.
Instan-t’s web-based platform will allow you to access Windows Live, Google Talk, AIM/ICQ, and Yahoo! accounts. Like Meebo and others, you can create a “community” account that will store your credentials for easy login access at a later time.
While the buddylist interface isn’t as smooth as other clients, it works as expected.
ILoveIM.com supports Windows Live, Yahoo!, ICQ, AIM, Google Talk, and MySpace. Another nice little touch to this service is the ability to sign on invisibly (which I’ve got to have). Passwords are also encrypted with a 1024-bit RSA key.
If I had to pick any beef with this one, it’s the fact that buddy lists are capped off with ads. It’s a little annoying and obtrusive, but it doesn’t ruin the entire experience. ILoveIM.com also offers the option to edit your buddy lists, which a lot of web-based clients overlook and leave out. However, you can only log in to one account at a time.
Which of these solutions are your favorite? Know any that I’ve managed to leave out? Leave me a message in the comments and tell me what you think, I’ll make sure to get back with you! Check out these articles, too: