Google recently purchased Meebo and will be shutting it down on July 11. If you use Meebo to chat in your browser or on your mobile device, you’ll need to find an alternative service. Luckily, there are plenty of great cross-protocol web apps to take Meebo’s place. If you’re a Meebo user, you may also want to download your chat logs – you can only do this until July 11.
Google will be maintaining that Meebo bar you see all over the web, but the service you’ve come to know and love is no more – Google’s moving the Meebo team over to Google+. All of these options are very capable services – your preference may just come down to which interface you like best.
imo.im is one of the best alternatives to Meebo. It’s got an online chat interface and mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Blackberry. It was developed by ex-Google employees and its simple, uncluttered interface feels like something Google would develop, if they were serious about maintaining a multi-protocol chat application.
You may remember Trillian as a desktop chat application for Windows. If you haven’t checked out Trillian in a while, be prepared for a surprise – Trillian now has a slick web interface, along with clients for Android, iOS, Blackberry – and yes, even desktop clients for Windows and OS X. Trillian synchronizes your information between the web and desktop clients – so you can run Trillian on your desktop and log into Trillian on the web elsewhere. Your buddy list and settings will be shared between each Trillian client.
Trillian is mostly free and ad-supported, although you can also pay $1 a month for Trillian Pro to hide the ads and store your chat logs online.
IM+ is another well-designed, web-based chat application that supports a wide variety of networks. It’s got mobile apps for a wide variety of platforms – everything from Android and iOS to WebOS and Windows Phone.
eBuddy has been around since 2003 under the name e-Messenger, so it’s quite a mature service. Like the other options here, eBuddy has mobile apps for Android and iOS.
You can also use each network’s online interface to send messages. This isn’t a bad option if you only use or two chat networks, but quickly becomes unwieldy if you use more than that.
- Google Talk: Gmail
- Facebook Chat: Facebook
- MSN / Windows Live Messenger: Hotmail
- Yahoo! Messenger: Yahoo! Mail
- AOL Instant Messenger: AIM Express
For more great web apps, check out our list of the best 100+ websites. Or, if you’re looking for mobile apps, check out our lists of the best Android apps, best iPhone apps, or best Windows Phone 7 apps.
What’s your preferred web-based instant-messaging system? Leave a comment and let us know.