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Unit 2.3 Collaborative development Tools
Instant Messaging

Nowadays people around the world use internet and email features for their routine life. Most people use email instead of writing letter or even calling people on mobile or landline telephone. Though sometimes emails are not instant speed enough - why? The reason is , if you are e-mailing back and forth with someone, you usually have to click through a few steps. This is why Instant messaging (IM) has become so popular.

Instant messaging(IM) "is a set of communication technologies used for text-based communication between two or more participants over the Internet or other types of networks".

With IM, you can keep a list of people you interact with. You can IM with anyone on your Group list or contact list as long as that person is online. You type messages to each other into a small window that shows up on both of your screens. Most IM programs provide these features:

    • Instant messages - Send notes back and forth with a friend who is online

    • Chat - Create a chat room with friends or co-workers

    • Web links - Share links to your favorite Web sites

    • Video - Send and view videos, and chat face to face with friends

    • Images - Look at an image stored on your friend's computer

    • Sounds - Play sounds for your friends

    • Files - Share files by sending them directly to your friends

    • Talk - Use the Internet instead of a phone to actually talk with friends

    • Streaming content - Real-time or near-real-time stock quotes and news

    • Mobile capabilities - Send instant messages from your cell phone

Instant Messaging – a brief history Before the Internet became popular, a lot of people were already online. The major online services, such as America Online (AOL), Prodigy and CompuServe, were the main way that ordinary people could connect and communicate with each other online. ¬In the early 1990s, people began to spend more and more time on the Internet. Creative software developers designed chat-room software and set up chat rooms on Web servers. In a chat room, a group of people can type in messages that are seen by everyone in the "room." Instant messages are basically a chat room for just two people.¬ Instant messaging really exploded on the Internet scene in November 1996. That's when Mirabilis introduced ICQ, a free instant-messaging utility that anyone could use. ICQ, shorthand for "I seek you," uses a software application, called a client, that resides on your computer. The client communicates with an ICQ server whenever you are online and the client is running. In 1997, AOL, considered the pioneer of the online community, gave its users the ability to talk in real time with each other through chat rooms and instant messages. In June 1998, AOL acquired Mirabilis and ICQ. The ICQ model is the basis for most instant-messaging utilities on the market today. In the next section we'll examine how these services work. In these sub units, you will learn about IM and how it works. You will also learn few popular IM tools like skype, and Gtalk.

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