How can a great service be unheard of? Even though there have been a few mentions about the service on MakeUseOf here and here, the developer has kept a low profile and quietly put the project below the radar for the past two years. After three years in alpha stage, this solid app has finally shown itself (with a new look) to the public.
Currently, imo.im is available as a web-based chat client (using flash), an iOS app, and an Android app.
Connect To Multi-Network
When you visit imo.im for the first time, you’ll notice how clean the interface is: a lot of white space and the login window in the middle. If the look reminds you of Google, it’s because one of the co-founders is also one of Google’s first ten employees – Georges Harik.
To start using imo.im, just log in with one of your IM accounts. You can add (and link) more accounts to imo.im later.
After logging in, you’ll see another vast white space with small columns of menus on the left and right of the page. Use “Add Account” from the “Accounts” menu on the left to link your other IM accounts. Basic information about an account will pop out if you hover your mouse over that account.
You can quickly change your status by using the drop down menu at the top of the page.
You can also add/change your profile photo by clicking on the profile box above the “Accounts” menu.
On the right side of the screen, there’s the “Buddies” menu. Similar to the “Account” menu, you can view more information about one of your buddies by hovering your mouse above his/her profile box.
Your buddies are automatically grouped based on groups that you have on your IM accounts. But you can easily create a new group by clicking on the “Create a new group” button. Adding a new buddy is also that simple.
You can move your buddies between groups by dragging and dropping them.
Any friend request from one of your IM accounts will pop out on imo.im, and you can choose to Deny, Block, or Add the person.
Clicking on any of your friends in the list will open up an individual chat window, which – if you are really fussy – could quickly fill up the entire screen. You can make your screen tidier by choosing the tab view from the button on the left of the “Buddies” menu.
Notifications pop up in a small yellow window inside the imo.im environment.
You can choose to enable desktop notifications if your browser supports the feature.
To Go Beyond The Text
The ability to easily connect to multiple chat platforms is not the only thing that imo.im has to offer. The small microphone icon in the text field of a chat window tells us that imo.im also support voice messages. This feature allows users to send up to 30 second voice messages to their chat partners.
To enable this feature, you have to give permission to imo.im to access your computer’s camera and microphone.
Then to send a voice message, all you have to do is hold the green “Hold to talk” button while you speak with the microphone. The voice messages will automatically be sent every time you release the green button.
Sending voice messages might mean nothing if you use the browser-based chat client from your computer. But if you use the phone version, the feature means free calls. You can use your phone as a long distance walkie-talkie (sort of) over an Internet connection and do voice chat with your friends without the phone charges.
On a good and stable Internet connection, you can also call your buddies and have continuous audio and/or video chat between computers and phones.
If you have a file or two to share with your chat buddy, click on the “Send File” tab, choose the file, and click the “Send file” button. You can only send one file at a time, though.
There are some things that you might not notice at the bottom of the imo.im screen. The first one is the “Sessions” link. Clicking on it will open the “Active Sessions” window with information on devices that you currently use to open imo.im.
The next one is the “Preferences“. You can enable desktop notifications from here (if your browser supports it). You can also prevent individuals who are not in your buddy list from contacting you.
In my opinion, imo.im is a great chat service. Maybe the greatest advantage that this service has over its competitors is its seamless integration between the web, iOS, and Android clients. Along with its support for multiple chat networks, and the combination of all the features, imo.im might be the instant messenger of your dreams.
What do you think of imo.im? Share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.