Instant messengers are used for online chat over the Internet. They consist of a set of communication technologies used for text-based communication over the Internet or other types of networks between two or more people. This happens in real-time. Having originated nearly twenty years ago, the very first Instant Messenger tool debuted in 1996, IM’s have come a long way since, making texting of messages easy, thus giving rise to a whole new digital revolution in the world.
Internet has made the big world small for us. Shopping, News, Jobs and the most important communication between people all has been made easy due to the advent of the internet. Instant messengers have progressed and evolved for the past two decades. Here is a write-up that shows how instant messengers have developed over the years:
- ICQ was launched in 1996. It was started by an Israeli company Mirabilis. It was the first messenger service for the PCs.
- Then in the year 1997, AOL Instant Messenger was released by AOL in May 1997. It uses a Voice chat, growing rapidly thus paving the way for future instant messaging service.
- In 1998, AOL acquired At the same time, Yahoo introduced another IM under the banner Yahoo Pager.
- In 1999, MSN introduced MSN messenger, offering customers a way to exchange online messages and email with more than 40 million users on MSN Hotmail.
- In the year 2003, Skype announces its launch of Instant Messenger with options to communicate with a webcam and microphone. However, the MSN IM had a lead on all the other Instant Messengers.
- Next in 2005, Google launches its own Instant Messenger, Google Talk, which was introduced as a rival to the MSN messenger and AIM. At the same time, EBay buys the successfully running Skype for $ 2.5 billion. Also, MSN maintaining its successful run introduces the “wink” flash based animated files –that are now called emojis and animations.
- In 2006, Yahoo and Microsoft launch interoperability between IM services, first of its kind between two giants. Also, MSN is rebranded as Windows Live Messenger.
- In 2009, Whatsapp is launched as a Messenger for smart phones to text, send video and audio for free. Also, eBay sells 65% of Skype to Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $1.9 billion.
- In 2010, AOL sold ICQ for $187.5 to Digital Sky Technologies less than half of $407 million it paid in 1998
- In 2011, Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion. This purchase puts the fate of Windows live messenger at stake.
- In 2012, Windows Live Messenger merged with Skype and gets discontinued. Also, Yahoo removes public chat rooms which it integrated with yahoo messenger.
- Windows Live Messenger transition to Skype occurs throughout April 2013, one language at time, starting with English and ending with Brazilian. Also, 2013 saw a transition with Whatsapp surging ahead of Skype thus gaining popularity and more usage among all the other IMs. It costed mobile phone providers $32.5 billion in texting fees in 2013. Google also announced that it merged and replace various chat services like Google Talk, Google+, Google + Messenger. This signaled the end for Google Talk.
- The year 2014 marked the end for MSN messenger. It ended its service on October 2014. And Whatsapp having a successful run was announced to be bought by Facebook.
Today Whatsapp and Skype are dominating the Instant Messenger servers. These have made sending of messages, pictures, videos and audio easy. However in the future there is a probability of transition will take place causing the downfall of the present IM’s and the rise of other IM’s.