Instant messaging is said to be one of the most popular forms of Internet communication for teens today, beating out email thanks to the lack of spam and instant feedback. With SweetIM adding support for AIM today, we thought we’d take a look at how the IM market is shaping up.

And for those who think 90+ IM clients are too many for anyone to handle, we wholly agree: that’s why a good number of these are actually tools to aggregate all your IM buddies in one place.

Popular IM Clients


Google Talk – use GTalk for your voice calls, voice messages, file transfer and Gmail notifications

Skype – high quality calls to anyone, anywhere in the world

Yahoo! Messenger – an official messenger for Yahoo! users, free to use but advertising-supported

AOL Instant Messenger – communicate with AOL registered users via text, voice, and video

Windows Live Messenger – connect and share instantly on the world’s most popular IM network

ICQ – the world’s first instant messaging program

mICQ – a free text-based ICQ client that runs on a wide variety of platforms

Licq – a free clone of the ICQ client for Linux other Unix systems

aMSN – a free and open source MSN Messenger clone for Linux users

JMSN – a pure Java MSN Messenger clone, with many interesting features that MSN doesn’t have

CSpace – secure and peer-to-peer communication to chat or transfer files

Coccinella – a free Jabber/XMPP client with a built-in white board for improved collaboration with other people

Emesene – a MSN Messenger client with a simpler GUI and a nice look

Gajim – a full-featured and easy to use XMPP client for gnome users

GOIM – allows users to chat within DirectX games

mcabber – a small console-based Jabber client that runs on Linux and Mac OS X

Gadu-Gadu – the most popular IM in Poland

Exodus – a Jabber client which is small, fast, easy to use, and looks good

Retroshare – communicate and download files from friends of friends

naim – a console based multi-protocol client with features like peer to peer encryption and module support

Gossip – an instant messaging client for Gnome users, with chat history search

MessageMate – commercial IM platform that provides end-to-end security; interoperable with AIM, ICQ, Yahoo and MSN

Papla Instant – use it on your PC and mobile phone

Mercury Messenger – a full featured Windows Live Messenger client, offers several extra features which are not implemented in MSN

Psi – small, fast Jabber client

Spark – free and open source IM with built-in support for group chat, telephony integration and strong security

Jabbin – free Jabber client that enables free calls using VoIP

YSM – full-featured console-based ICQ client

MySpaceIM – the official instant messaging client for MySpace

OneTeam – IM client is XUL based, so requires Firefox 2

Microsoft Messenger for Mac – the official Mac client for MSN Messenger, but the feature list is limited

Xfire – chat with contacts inside the game, without the need to minimize the game windows

Pandion – Jabber client which supports plugins to extend its features

BitWise IM – a secure, cross-platform client that encrypts all data sent between users

Multi-network IM Clients


Pidgin – most popular, free, multi-platform IM client that supports most of the IM protocols

Miranda IM – lightweight, resource efficient and easy to use client with powerful plugin support

Ayttm – in case of a service failure, this will automatically fall back to other service protocols of the same person you are chatting to.

Trillian – a Windows application that can connect to multiple IM services, with nice features like Metacontact, Instant lookup, and Emotiblips

meetro – find and chat with people nearby, i.e. location-aware client

IMVU – 3D chat which enables you chat in 3D scenes with your own avatars

Kopete – KDE application, provides users with a single, easy-to-use way to access all of their instant messaging systems

MECA – connect to all of your friends on AIM, MSN, Yahoo! and ICQ from just one list

Centericq – text based multi protocols IM client

Proteus – popular client for Mac OS X that supports multiple protocols

Instan-t – Windows client that allows users to communicate with MSN, AIM, Y!Messenger, ICQ and its IM networks

iChat – IM Client from Apple for Mac OSX

Universal Messenger Plus – a single convenient interface that allows you to easily communicate over different protocols.

Qnext – share your music, photos, and files with anyone, instantly while talking via IM

Aduim – free client for Mac users that can connect to most of the popular messaging services

BitlBee – IRC clients with support of IM protocols

Web based IM

meebo – the most popular third party web based instant messaging service

eBuddy – chat with your buddies using web and mobile versions

KoolIM – web-based IM that allows you to connect to your email inbox as well as popular IM networks

ILoveIM – another web based IM service with advertisements

IMhaha – supports Yahoo, MSN and AIM but not Google Talk

Goowy – more than just an IM client; offers e-mail, calendar, news, RSS, file storage and more

IMunitive – an alternative to meebo, but doesn’t support Jabber i.e. Google Talk

RadiusIM – web-based IM service with Google Maps integration, which means you can see where your friends are

MessengerFX – unofficial web based IM client for MSN Messenger

ICQ2Go! – web-based installation-free version of ICQ

SNIMMER – chat on MSN, Yahoo, AOL, ICQ and GTalk and make new friends by creating a profile with pictures

IMO – allows you to log in to all chat networks at the same time

Communicationtube – separate login for ICQ, MSN Messenger, IRC and Google Talk contacts

Express Instan-t – simple IM which works with ICQ, MSN and Yahoo

easymessenger – free instant messenger service with built-in RSS support that works with MSN, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo! and Jabber.

mabber – use it on your phone or put it on your website

MSN2Go – Java applet that enables you connect to MSN messenger service

Yafumato Web Messenger – free and open source web-based IM client that allows you to connect to AIM, GTalk, MSN, and Yahoo

MSN Web Messenger – the web-based version of MSN Messenger, without file sharing or video calls

Yahoo! Web Messenger – access to your Yahoo! messenger, chat with your friends and get notified when new email is received.

AIM Express – official web-based instant messenger for AIM

Google Talk via Gmail – chat with your GTalk contacts from Google mail

Mobile IM


Agile Messenger – user friendly all-in-one application for your mobile phone

Eqo – save up to 95% on calls, 70% on text messaging, integrates all of MSN, Yahoo!, GTalk, AIM, ICQ, and Jabber.

fring – use it as an IM client, but also for free calls over Wi-Fi, GPRS or EDGE

IM+ – All-in-One Mobile Messenger that works on any mobile device

OctroTalk – keeps you connected with your buddies, and works seamlessly over GPRS/EDGE/CDMA/Wifi/Bluetooth data connections

QuickIM – connect to public MSN networks using your cell phone with one time license fee

JiveTalk – connect simultaneously to AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk, ICQ, and Jabber

Causerie – an easily configurable chat tool with simple-to-use user interface that work on Palm, Blackberry, Pocket PC, Symbian and J2ME enabled phones.

TipicME – J2ME-based Jabber client that is really well done and absolutely free

iSkoot – mobile application that allows you to connect by GPRS, 3G or Wifi and to speak or chat with all your contacts on Skype

MovaMessenger – a free mobile IM client, works with MSN, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, and GTalk

Turbo MSN – a mobile MSN client for Nokia and Panasonic

Nimbuzz – call your IM buddies on their mobile or on their PC, chat with your IM buddies for free and send text messages for free.

Heysan – web based mobile messenger, compatible with most of the mobile phones including iPhone.

YehBA Mobile IM – allows you chat with your friends anywhere in the world, meet new friends across the globe through chat rooms, and have access to an unlimited number of fun services.

Palringo Vocal IM – transforms your mobile device into a walkie-talkie: communicate with a contact or a group at the touch of a button

MT Messenger – exchange messages using the most popular IM applications from MSN, Yahoo! and AOL

EpyxMobile – call all over the world from your mobile phone for SkypeOut tariffs

GoTalkMobile – Java application for J2ME enabled phones, allows you connect to Google Talk and Jabber

MSN Mobile – take MSN with you

Mundu – conference with your contacts across IM services in a single chat session

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