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What if you’re at school, at work or using a public computer and there’s no instant messaging client installed? You could try downloading it but chances are that you’ll bump into quite some “˜guest restrictions’. In the past I solved this by installing the files into the My Documents folder, or right on the desktop, but that’s so unprofessional.

So what else can you do? You could use an online IM client, like imo, eBuddy or meebo. By using one of these three websites, you can chat with your buddies without installing a single thing.

You may also want to check out Karl’s AIM Express article AIM Express lets you use IM without installing a client AIM Express lets you use IM without installing a client Read More which also lets you chat via the web using AIM.

imo.im

imo.im is still in alpha phase, so it’s still a little bit behind on eBuddy and meebo. There is potential though. It looks pretty basic, stripped down, with nearly no images used, but that’s brought into perspective with a pretty neat interface. imo.im turns your browser into a little desktop, giving you the ability to open multiple chat windows and to drag and position them across the screen.

Through imo.im, you can connect to your MSN, Yahoo, AIM/ICQ and/or Google Talk account(s). Please notice the “˜and’ and the “˜(s)’, because you can connect to multiple accounts at the same time.

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Imo.im also features “˜surf left’ and “˜surf right’ buttons. When you click this, a small new window is opened, containing your chat client. imo.im automatically adjusts the size and position of both your main and chat window, so they seamlessly fit besides each other. This enables you to chat on the right (or left) side, while continuing to surf on the left (or right) side of your screen.

Pros:

  • Windowed interface
  • Surf left/right buttons
  • Webcam functionality
  • Multiple account functionality

Cons:

  • Very basic interface (chat completely text-based; no smileys)

Available networks:

  • MSN, Yahoo, AIM/ICQ, Google Talk

eBuddy.com

eBuddy is much more detailed than imo.im. First of all: the interface. Though it lacks a windowed interface like imo.im, it’s highly graphical. It substitutes the use of windows by using tabs. Though this is very practical as well, it takes away the ability to multitask, or multi-chat, as some might say. Besides this, eBuddy brings many advantages, giving you the ability to choose user-pictures, personal messages, and much, much more (you can even send buzzers, when using the MSN Messenger network).

Just like imo.im, eBuddy supports the use of multiple IM-accounts simultaneously. The only downside is that you’ll have to register for an “˜eBuddy ID’. The connected pro is that you won’t have to add all your accounts every time you go online, as with imo.im.

Pros:

  • Graphic interface
  • Customizability
  • Multiple account functionality

Cons:

  • Lack of webcam functionality

Available networks:

MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Google Talk, MySpace IM

meebo.com

meebo seems to combine the pros of both imo.im and eBuddy into one site. It uses a similar windowed interface as imo.im, but less stripped down. meebo owns a pretty sleek interface, which visually resembles Linux. It isn’t as graphical as eBuddy, but makes it up with some extra functions.

meebo gives you the ability to use the webcam, using a very easy to use interface. When you sign up for a meebo account, you also get multiple account functionality and other meebo customizations. This includes the ability to choose between different color schemes and the keeping of chat logs.

Pros:

  • Graphic interface
  • Chat logs
  • Multiple account functionality
  • Webcam functionality

Cons:

  • Some graphical aspects are still missing

Available networks:

MSN, Yahoo, AIM/ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber

Which web-based IM network do you swear by and why?

(By) Simon is a student from Belgium who wastes his time relaxing, watching anime and surfing the net. He would tell you to check out his blog, only he doesn’t have one yet!

  1. the willis 1
    November 19, 2008 at 6:53 am

    i tried all these sites but my school blocks them all!!!
    iv tried proxys ip addresses command and everythin and i desperatly want ebuddy or some other messenger service :( please help me wiv the problem im sure sum1s smart enuf to outsmart mi school! please

    help me!
    reply asap
    james willis

    • Simon Slangen
      November 19, 2008 at 8:14 am

      Try accessing them through Unblockall.net.

      • WILLIS
        November 25, 2008 at 4:23 am

        its still not workin

        any more bright ideas genius?

    • WeBuzz.IM
      January 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm

      What about taking a try on http://webuzz.im/ ?

      WeBuzz.IM is a new Web IM service provider for Gtalk/MSN/AIM/Y!Messenger, with similar features of IMO.im, eBuddy and Meebo.

  2. skykid
    July 18, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I am on Meebo pretty much since its very launch. I am used to it as its easy to manage multiple accounts

  3. Jagdesh
    July 17, 2008 at 1:38 am

    I use e-buudy all the time.I think it is the best out there for now :D

  4. Alex
    July 16, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Most IM sites are blocked at schools and some work places.

    • Simon
      July 17, 2008 at 5:41 am

      If the admin may has blocked a fixed set of sites, you can access it through a proxy. There are a few good sites that allow you to do so without too much problems. Anonymouse.org is one of them. Another one is DailyBestLinks.com.

  5. Jonnie
    July 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Hey!

    Thanks for the list! Think you forgot Heysan, they are like ebuddy, they have IM service in
    all major networks, MSN, AIM etc... They also have Profiles & Chatrooms where you can meet
    new Heysan friends...

    Thanks!
    / Jon

    • Simon
      July 17, 2008 at 5:48 am

      It looks like Heysan! is primarily focussed on mobiles, though. Nevertheless, it looks like a great site.

  6. alfred
    July 16, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for this list.

    One cool thing about IMO is that it uses server push / comet and no flash so every computer that has javascript installed and no flash can chat. Offcourse this site should not be blocked by proxy / firewall

  7. Jimmy Rogers
    July 16, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    I use Meebo.com all the time. It's amazing!

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