We've said it before so we'll say it again: Everybody's getting into the multi-platform chat game. The most recent solution to hit our radar is a little known application called imo.im, a Web based service that mimics popular alternative, Meebo.
The coolest thing about imo.im? It's one of the only multi-protocol services to offer Skype support. Oh, and it was co-founded by Georges Harik, an ex Engineer for a company you've probably heard of called Google.
Put All of Your Platforms in One Basket
You probably know how this game works. With Web based chat services there's no registration necessary. You simply point your browser to the site, plug in user names and passwords for each of the separate platforms you want to log in on (AIM, Yahoo Messenger, GTalk, etc.), et voila, you've got one big buddy list for all of your chatting needs.
So what makes imo.im different? Well, in the multi-platform chat world, Skype integration is kind of a big deal. The widely used phone call/voice chat/instant messaging service made popular headlines when it was released for the iPhone earlier this year, and its absence from Meebo's supported clients is certainly one of the platforms biggest shortcomings.
imo No Stranger
As a product from an ex Google head, it’s no surprise that imo.im looks a bit like GTalk. There are similar red, green and yellow indicators next to your buddies’ names to tell you if they’re busy, available or idle. The font is also the same, and, on a neat note, you can “star” your favorite buddies just like you’d star a message in Gmail. Starred buddies are considered your favorites and always appear at the top most part of your buddy list, regardless of their chosen platform.
Other than that, the imo.im does just what you’d expect it to do. It links accounts, provides voice and video chat, has a pop out mode, translates, allows invisibility and blocking, etc.
It sounds cool enough, so why hasn’t anyone actually heard of it? Beats us. The solution has actually been around for a little over two years but remains a road less traveled compared to Meebo.
The company certainly has aim to become a popular solution, however. In fact, according to the imo.im blog, Skype support is just the tip of the iceberg. Earlier this year a post containing everything the company’s got cookin’ in the lab was published, and the list includes text to speech, face and object recognition, offline access, etc. We’d personally like to see some less extravagant improvements, like Facebook chat support and the option to save your chat history.
Care to test it out? After all, it is free, and free is always worth a try.