Scheduled for Termination – AOL Instant Messenger

The iconic instant messaging client will send its last IM on 2017-12-15…

You know, I saw this one and it kind hit home pretty hard. I’ve been a computing professional, working with PC’s since the early 1980’s. Now that I’ve told you that I’m older than dirt, let’s get to the heart of what AIM shutting down really means. It is in fact, a true end of an era.

Farewell AIM

Back I the mid to late 1990’s when the internet got its public start (many may disagree, but it was, in fact the release of Windows 95 that really got things going…), the face of the internet was services like CompServe, MSN, and America on Line (AOL). Most people didn’t get on the “internet” per se back then. They fired up what was nearly 95% likely, a dial up service, that showed them highly curated content, in a 100% designed and controlled interface. These dial up services showed you the content you were looking for – sports, entertainment, computing, etc. – all from within a controlled, curated environment that showed them exactly what the service wanted them to see.

Messenger services were easy to create at that point. Most of the time, you, your family and friends were all using the same service. It made sense, too. Tell me when my friends, who are also using the same service, are online so that I can have an instant message conversation with them. It made communicating with friends and family, all that much easier.

And the war…! Oh my goodness…!! Ok. Show of hands… Who here remembers the IM client war? Interoperability was a huge deal back in the day when all of these things were popular. When one would figure out how the get access to another’s network, so that you could use one and only one IM client, the ACCESSED network would change the way it worked blocking those on clients other than theirs; and then figure out how the other one worked so they could do the same thing. This went on and on, back and forth, for YEARS.

Meanwhile, consolidation apps like Trillian brought them all together; but always had an outage on this IM network or another because they got blocked due to the back and forth crap in the IM war.

But it looks like all of that is now history. MSN Messenger kinda morphed into Lync and Skype for Business. AOL Instant Messenger is done in December 2017, and somehow, “https://www.icq.com”>ICQ still seems to be alive and kicking.

But as I said, AIM is out. According to Oath VP of Communications, Michael Albers,

“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed. We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world.”

So, it’s the end of an era. AIM is done. The final IM on its network will be sent and received on 2017-12-15.

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Facebook is Killing Me

This whole, “splitting-off-FB-Messenger-into-a-different-app-thing” is making be bang my head against a wall. Here’s why…

facebook-messenger-transparent-300x300It started with Apple, I think.  I think… and it was in early 2012 with the release of Messages Beta.  I published an article on InformationWeek about two years ago that covered this.  I also wrote a feature length review of Messages, which was new at the time.

While others may disagree and provide other info and stats, (and I welcome that in the Discussion area, below…) sending text messages via IP instead of GSM/CDMA has started a huge in-flux of messaging and texting apps to hit the market.  Now, Facebook is tossing their hat into the ring with Facebook Messenger.

Facebook has somewhere in the neighborhood of, like, one billion users. If each and every one of them send just one message a day, to just one of their friends, that’s one billion messages exchanged via their social network each and every day. That’s seven billion a week and 30.44 billion each month.

That’s a lot of messages (and only if each user sends just one message a day).

Facebook has been saying for months that it would be breaking the messaging function out of its mobile app and would be moving it to a separate app all together.  I find this very painful.  I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to my mobile experience.  The last thing I want on my phone is yet ANOTHER mobile messaging app.

I’ve been reviewing software for Windows, Mac, Pocket PC/ Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Android and iOS for almost 20 years. I’m a software QA manager/ director and I can tell you with 100% accuracy – there’s a great deal of crappy software on the market.  Installing and uninstalling apps on to my mobile phone – a mission critical, communications tool for me – isn’t something I really like to do.  It tends to clutter up your device and trashes its performance, stability; and in many cases requires a wipe and reconfigure when its performance tanks and it acts buggy.    The LAST thing I want to have to do in order to keep current functionality, is install two apps to provide the current functionality I have in just one.

However, that’s what Facebook is doing.

In a recent note to its customers, Facebook states, “We wanted to let you know that messages are moving out of the Facebook app to our Messenger app, a free app that’s faster and more reliable for everyday messaging…. Soon, we’ll start guiding you to get started with Messenger. After a few days, you’ll also see a reminder notice in the Facebook app, where you’d normally see your messages. At that point, we’ll ask you to install Messenger or go to the Facebook website to view and send messages. You’ll still see new message notifications in the Facebook app, and it’ll be easy to switch between Facebook and Messenger.”

In short, if you do any PM-ing in Facebook on a regular basis, you’ll have to start using FB Messenger if you want to PM someone from your mobile device, from within Facebook. Facebook states that the swap to their Messaging app from the Facebook mobile app should be seamless, or nearly seamless. These changes won’t affect functionality experienced on the FB website on any platform or in any browser.

I’m not certain how Facebook monetizes all those messages people send and receive; but you have to think that there must be some financial angle for them to pursue this.  Perhaps they’re planning on implementing an ad supported app. I’m not certain… Any way you cut this, though, it’s another messaging app that I HAVE to install (if I wish to trade or view PM’s sent to me while I am using the Facebook mobile app). I hate that. I’ve got enough junk on my phone as it is with Angry Birds and Candy Crush… I don’t want to have to install another app, despite the messaging experience it’s supposed to provide.

Do you communicate via Facebook messaging with your friends a lot?  Will you continue to do so on your mobile device after Facebook removes its messaging functionality from its mobile app?  Will you install Facebook Messenger on your mobile phone and use it, or is it something that you’re just going to HAVE to install to keep all your current functionality?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the discussion area, below. This is just killing me.  I hate installing separate apps for this stuff.  How about you?

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Chat with all of your Facebook friends with this handy Windows app

facebook-messenger-para-windows-7-02-535x535Keeping in touch with your friends isn’t always easy. Some use this tool. Others frequent that site. Getting to everyone on a common platform isn’t always possible; however, Facebook is one place where most everyone goes. This is one of the reasons why I really like Facebook Messenger. It’s a chat tool for Windows.

Facebook is great for catching up with old friends. Its chat features are pretty nice and very useful. You can chat with just about anyone, anytime, anywhere. The big problem with FB chat is that it requires you to have a browser open, and be logged into their site for it to work. Facebook Messenger solves this problem.

You can do almost everything with Facebook Messenger that you can with FB chat on their website. The app makes use of Java to provide universality from platform to platform, and this is both good and bad. Java may be the great programmatic equalizer – code once, execute on many platforms – but it can be problematic as well. Each platform performs differently and Java may not behave the same way from platform to platform. I had some problems getting the app to behave and function as I had hoped it would. It offered similar experiences on all the Windows machines I tried to run it on.

facebookmessenger-060312

The app’s interface can be somewhat confusing. It’s not always clear where incoming messages and their alerts will appear. Sometimes they show up in your active chat window, other times in your inbox. It makes for a confusing conversation. It also doesn’t do a lot for the app’s usability, either. Facebook Messenger is an ok app, but nothing really to get excited about.

Download Facebook Messenger

 

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Yahoo Messenger 11 links to Facebook

After seven months of beta, Yahoo officially released their new Messenger. Yahoo Messenger 11 brings a wider connectivity in terms of social media including support for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Pulse. Its main objective remains the instant messaging, but now everything can be performed in a cross-platform manner. For example you can start text or audio/video conversations and play games while interact across your Facebook network.

With Yahoo Messenger 11 you can stay signed-in simultaneously in multiple places and can give “like” or comment on any supported social media within the program. Updates can also be posted from the application across all of your networks, saving plenty of time.

Any conversation can be backed-up on Yahoo’s online servers in order to give you access to them anytime on any PC while you are signed-in. The application support also seven skins to change its appearance and includes a collection of popular social games (ex.: Mafia Wars) that can be played without leaving the application.

download Yahoo Messenger 11

 

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Configure Yahoo Messenger to save a history of all your conversations

By default, Yahoo Messenger doesn’t save your messages, alerts and conferences but you can enable this feature manually. Click the ‘Preferences’ option in the Yahoo Messenger menu, select ‘Archive’, select ‘Save all my messages’ and after that just hit the ‘OK’ button. That’s all, from now on, a history of all your conversations will be saved.

To view your conversations, just click the ‘Contacts’ menu in Messenger and select ‘Message Archive’. A new window will appear where you can select the desired archive folder that you wish to review.

You can also do this if you double-click the name of the contact you would like to view history from. Then, in the window where you usually see your IM conversations, click Show Recent Messages. If you want to view an earlier conversation, scroll to the top and click View Full Archive.

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How to Chat With Your Facebook Friends Without Opening Your Facebook Account

Do you know how to chat with your Facebook friends without opening Facebook.com? Well, there more ways, I’ll present three of them:
– using ChitChat – the standalone messenger for Windows
– using Meebo – an awesome web based instant messaging service
– using Adium, for Mac user that want to chat from desktop

Do you know others? Share with us!

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