View Feedback | Send this Article | Published 4/11/03
While there are many different choices when it comes to instant messenger and chat clients, perhaps one of the most powerful and oldest is ICQ. ICQ (I-Seek-You) was developed in 1996 by a group of 3 Israeli computer programmers. Their group "Mirabilis" grew quickly, and 2 years later was bought by AOL. ICQ was the first peer-to-peer chat client, and it shows. While some programs age poorly, ICQ has become more secure, more stable and more powerful than any other chat client on the market.
So what makes ICQ so grand? Well, it definitely is not the start-up sound. Fortunately, one of the things that does make ICQ great is that a large number of sound themes are available for download on the internet. With these themes, you can make ICQ sound like everything from a woodland forest to StrongBad.
While almost all messengers allow you nearly limitless (256 total) away messages, ICQ does not. Instead, ICQ offers you 6 definable messages in 7 different modes. Each mode (Away, N/A, Busy, DND, etc) also has a "default" message that you can change to something different than one of your predefined messages.
ICQ's strength lies not only in what you can do with the program (file transfer, www address transfer, contacts transfer, etc), but what the program helps you to do. ICQ was the first peer to peer chat client designed to have "plugins," which help you to do things such as start Netmeeting or Internet Game sessions with your friends on ICQ. Additionaly, the most recent ICQ client offers much improved security and privacy. My ICQ client runs whenever my computer is turned on, and my computer is almost always connected to the internet. In the last four months, I have received no SPAM messages on ICQ, unlike Yahoo, AIM and MSN. While it takes a few minutes to set the options correctly, it is now possible to live in peace from junk senders!
Still not convinced? Are you not convinced, or is the ICQ you remember too complex to use? Then ICQ, Inc. has released a new, smaller client called ICQ Lite that may be for you! Whether you choose ICQ or ICQ Lite, you can download them at ICQ or at Download.com. Don't take my word for it. Take the word of over 150 Million users registered worldwide.
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