PC MAG -- Aug 24 -- The five utilities reviewed work with AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo! IM. When you chat with other users of BlowSearch Secured Messenger 2.1.0, your conversation is encrypted for security. The free, heavily ad- supported version uses 56-bit encryption. The open-source Gaim 1.1.4 handles nine IM systems and multiple accounts on each service. Dozens of plug-ins are available. Instan-t 4.5 serves as a free taste of the company's private IM service. It's online so you can use Instan-t anywhere just by logging in. Instan-t offers multiperson chat and audio/video messaging. Java-based Pexit! 2.5 offers IM aggregation and much more—too much more, as it turns out. Its configuration dialog is daunting, with over a dozen tabs of confusing options. Pexit!'s saving grace is its ability to create a multiperson chat across different IM services. Trillian 3.1 configuration is easy. Audio chat is available. For $25, Trillian Pro adds video conferencing, recording of audio/video chat, and various plug-ins. FULL ARTICLE @ PC MAG
Mark Brooks: I tried Gaim but ended up using the paid version of Trillian for the last two years. Meebo isn't mentioned here but is worth a lookin. I'm using their widget service at www.pingmark.com. Instant-t is their direct competitor, but I'd rather trust Meebo, a Sequoia back startup, with my logins. Gizmoproject.com (live on Livejournal.com shortly) offers an alternative to Skype (live on Bebo.com). Userplane is the gold standard for online community instant messaging and audio/video. Userplane was just acquired by AOL.