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AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, or IRC - Which instant messaging program should I choose?

Chat, chat, and chat. With AIM, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, or IRC instant messaging programs available, which do you choose?

Communicating on the Internet has become the new phone. Talking to friends, meeting new people, dating, sales, or help with homework. It is free, cheep and easy. Many programs can be downloaded easily from the messaging program web site. Most of these programs have several great features and simple to get up and going.

What instant messaging program do you choose?

This is going to depend on what features you are looking for in an Instant Messaging service and what resources you have on your computer. Do you want to talk, send pictures, talk, listen to music, watch videos, and play games? So many things can be done now days with the technology available. In addition, it is only getting better.

Instant Messaging Services

IM Name Installation Description Extras
AIM Download, or can be direct from web browser The AIMr service is all about helping you keep in touch with your buddies. Whether you're sending IMs, sharing photos or doing a voice chat we want to make it better. Features such as offline messaging, innovative wallpapers, IM logging and more
ICQ Download, or can be direct from web browser The most updated ICQ version. It includes the essential features: instant messaging, SMS, voice and video chat, as well as fun features Games, tZers, push-to-talk, customizing tools and other ICQ X-traz.

Yahoo Messenger Download Yahoo! Messenger takes instant messaging to a new level. Use it to connect in real-time and communicate how you want, when you want, with whom you want. In addition to sending text-based instant messages Free pc-pc phone calls, compatible with Windows live messenger, plug in fun, games, music, and picture saving
IRC Download IRCX pro is a suite of communications software that allows businesses and individuals to send messages in real time over the company network or internet. Group contact, voice chat, SSL encryption, content rating.

As I had said before, it is all up to you. There are many services and options available. If you want to send photos, it is easy to do on Yahoo. Are you looking for more business related chat abilities, IRC would probably work best? International chat is great through ICQ; AIM is a great chat program if you need to avoid a full download version.

How can I protect my Instant Messaging account?

Make sure you have a password that is difficult to guess but easy to remember, and that you change it frequently. Also, add letters and numbers together. This makes the guessing of a password more difficult. Do not tell anyone your password. If you use a shared computer, you may choose not to use the Save Password feature on the sign-on screen.

There may also be security flaws in your operating system, web browser, or other software. These may allow a remote user to take control of your computer and capture your passwords or other personal data. There are several measures you can take to protect yourself, such as:

  • Keep your operating system software up to date by installing all security updates/critical updates:

    • Microsoft Windows:

    • Apple Macintosh:

  • Keep your virus software up to date.

  • Install personal firewall software, which will alert you to possibly dangerous data transmissions.

  • Before you click any hyperlink, even in an email or IM, move your mouse pointer over the link so that you can see the actual URL (web address) that the link is pointing to. This can give you a good idea of whether the link is safe to go to or not.

Whatever Instant messaging program you choose; AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, or IRC, you will also want to keep the security of your computer and chats in mind.

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