Instant messaging

instant messengerIMinstant messageinstant messagesInstant messaging clientmessagingchat clientchatinstant messengersMultiprotocol instant messaging application
Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat that offers real-time text transmission over the Internet.wikipedia
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LAN messenger

LAN messagingLAN Messaging clientsLAN messaging software
A LAN messenger operates in a similar way over a local area network.
A LAN Messenger is a instant messaging program for computers designed for use within a single local area network (LAN).

Internet

onlinethe Internetweb
Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat that offers real-time text transmission over the Internet.
The Internet has enabled and accelerated new forms of personal interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking.

Real-time text

real-timereal time textreal-time texting
Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat that offers real-time text transmission over the Internet. Some IM applications can use push technology to provide real-time text, which transmits messages character by character, as they are composed.
Technologies include TDD/TTY devices for the deaf, live captioning for TV, Text over IP (ToIP), some types of instant messaging, captioning for telephony/video teleconferencing, telecommunications relay services including ip-relay, transcription services including Remote CART, TypeWell, collaborative text editing, streaming text applications, next-generation 9-1-1/1-1-2 emergency service.

Push technology

push notificationspush notificationpush
Some IM applications can use push technology to provide real-time text, which transmits messages character by character, as they are composed.
Synchronous conferencing and instant messaging are typical examples of push services.

Computer network

networkcomputer networkingnetworking
Instant messaging is a set of communication technologies used for text-based communication between two or more participants over the Internet or other types of networks.
Computer networks support an enormous number of applications and services such as access to the World Wide Web, digital video, digital audio, shared use of application and storage servers, printers, and fax machines, and use of email and instant messaging applications as well as many others.

Internet Relay Chat

IRCIRC clientIRC channel
Some of these used a peer-to-peer protocol (e.g. talk, ntalk and ytalk), while others required peers to connect to a server (see talker and IRC).
IRC is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but also allows one-on-one communication via private messages as well as chat and data transfer, including file sharing.

Talker

Cat Chatchatting program
Some of these used a peer-to-peer protocol (e.g. talk, ntalk and ytalk), while others required peers to connect to a server (see talker and IRC).
Dating back to the 1980s, they were a predecessor of instant messaging.

PLATO (computer system)

PLATOPLATO systemComputer-based Education Research Laboratory
Parallel to instant messaging were early online chat facilities, the earliest of which was Talkomatic (1973) on the PLATO system, which allowed 5 people to chat simultaneously on a 512x512 plasma display (5 lines of text + 1 status line per person).
Many modern concepts in multi-user computing were originally developed on PLATO, including forums, message boards, online testing, e-mail, chat rooms, picture languages, instant messaging, remote screen sharing, and multiplayer video games.

AIM (software)

AOL Instant MessengerAIMAIM Triton
The most popular IM platforms, such as AIM, closed in 2017, and Windows Live Messenger was merged into Skype. Quantum Link later became America Online and made AOL Instant Messenger (AIM, discussed later).
AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) was an instant messaging and presence computer program created by AOL, which used the proprietary OSCAR instant messaging protocol and the TOC protocol to allow registered users to communicate in real time.

Zephyr (protocol)

Zephyr Notification ServiceZephyrinstant messaging
The Zephyr Notification Service (still in use at some institutions) was invented at MIT's Project Athena in the 1980s to allow service providers to locate and send messages to users.
Created at MIT, as part of Project Athena, Zephyr was designed as an instant messaging protocol and application-suite with a heavy Unix background.

ICQ

UINICQ chats
Modern, Internet-wide, GUI-based messaging clients as they are known today, began to take off in the mid-1990s with PowWow, ICQ, and AOL Instant Messenger.
ICQ is a cross-platform instant messaging and VoIP client.

PowWow (chat program)

PowWowPow Wow
Modern, Internet-wide, GUI-based messaging clients as they are known today, began to take off in the mid-1990s with PowWow, ICQ, and AOL Instant Messenger.
PowWow was one of the first Internet instant message and chat programs for Windows.

Project Athena

AthenaMIT
The Zephyr Notification Service (still in use at some institutions) was invented at MIT's Project Athena in the 1980s to allow service providers to locate and send messages to users.
It influenced the development of thin computing, LDAP, Active Directory, and instant messaging.

AOL

America OnlineAOL MusicSpinner.com
Quantum Link later became America Online and made AOL Instant Messenger (AIM, discussed later).
It originally provided a dial-up service to millions of Americans, as well as providing a web portal, e-mail, instant messaging and later a web browser following its purchase of Netscape.

Excite

MagellanExcite.comExcite@Home
Meanwhile, other companies developed their own software; (Excite, MSN, Ubique, and Yahoo!), each with its own proprietary protocol and client; users therefore had to run multiple client applications if they wished to use more than one of these networks.
Excite (stylized as excite) is an internet portal launched in 1995 that provides a variety of content including news and weather, a metasearch engine, a web-based email, instant messaging, stock quotes, and a customizable user homepage.

Webcam

webcamsweb cameraweb cam
For example, users may see each other via webcams, or talk directly for free over the Internet using a microphone and headphones or loudspeakers.
Webcam can be added to instant messaging, text chat services such as AOL Instant Messenger, and VoIP services such as Skype, one-to-one live video communication over the Internet has now reached millions of mainstream PC users worldwide.

Quantum Link

Q-LinkQuantum Link ReloadedQuantumLink
In the latter half of the 1980s and into the early 1990s, the Quantum Link online service for Commodore 64 computers offered user-to-user messages between concurrently connected customers, which they called "On-Line Messages" (or OLM for short), and later "FlashMail."
Q-Link featured electronic mail, online chat (in its People Connection department), public domain file sharing libraries, online news, and instant messaging (using On Line Messages, or OLMs).

Messaging apps

messaging appsocial messagingmessaging
Today, most instant messaging takes place on messaging apps which by 2014 had more users than social networks.
Messaging apps differ from the previous generation of instant messaging platforms like the defunct AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger, in that they are primarily used via mobile apps on smartphones as opposed to personal computers, although some messaging apps offer web-based versions or software for PC operating systems.

Pidgin (software)

PidginGaimlibpurple
For this reason, in April 2007, the instant messaging client formerly named Gaim (or gaim) announced that they would be renamed "Pidgin".
Pidgin (formerly named Gaim) is a free and open-source multi-platform instant messaging client, based on a library named libpurple that has support for many instant messaging protocols, allowing the user to simultaneously log into various services from one application.

CB Simulator

CompuServe CB
The first such general-availability commercial online chat service (as opposed to PLATO, which was educational) was the CompuServe CB Simulator in 1980, created by CompuServe executive Alexander "Sandy" Trevor in Columbus, Ohio.
At that time, most people were familiar with citizens band radio, often abbreviated as CB radio, but multi-user chat and instant messaging were largely unknown.

Skype for Business

Microsoft LyncMicrosoft Office CommunicatorLync
These include titles like XMPP, Lotus Sametime, Microsoft Office Communicator, etc., which are often integrated with other enterprise applications such as workflow systems.
Skype for Business is an instant messaging (IM) enterprise software used with Skype for Business Server or with Skype for Business Online (available with Microsoft Office 365).

File transfer

transfer filestransferring filesfile-transfer
More advanced instant messaging can add file transfer, clickable hyperlinks, Voice over IP, or video chat.

Session Initiation Protocol

SIPSession Initiation Protocol (SIP)SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)
There have been several attempts to create a unified standard for instant messaging: IETF's Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE), Application Exchange (APEX), Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol (IMPP), the open XML-based Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), and Open Mobile Alliance's Instant Messaging and Presence Service developed specifically for mobile devices.
SIP is used for signaling and controlling multimedia communication sessions in applications of Internet telephony for voice and video calls, in private IP telephone systems, in instant messaging over Internet Protocol (IP) networks as well as mobile phone calling over LTE (VoLTE).

Windows Live Messenger

MSN MessengerMSNMessenger
The most popular IM platforms, such as AIM, closed in 2017, and Windows Live Messenger was merged into Skype.
MSN Messenger, later rebranded as Windows Live Messenger, is a discontinued cross-platform instant messaging client developed by Microsoft.

Google Talk

GTalkGoogle ChatGoogleTalk
announced that by the 3rd quarter of 2006 they would interoperate using SIP/SIMPLE, which was followed, in December 2005, by the AOL and Google strategic partnership deal in which Google Talk users would be able to communicate with AIM and ICQ users provided they have an AIM account.
Google Talk, also known as Google Chat, was an instant messaging service that provided both text and voice communication.