IRC, ICQ, AIM and more: instant messaging history

  1. IM apps from the 70s to 2019
  2. The world’s first IM
  3. Mark Jenks and Tok
  4. Internet relay race and journalism
  5. Commodore 64 and Quantum Link
  6. ICQ, Yahoo Messenger and AIM
  7. Multiprotocol IM changes the rules
  8. Social media and mobile instant messaging
  9. Instant messaging in 2019

IM apps from the 70s to 2019

In the early 1970s, academic institutions and research labs became the prime places for using the computer. Programmers have developed a way to communicate with each other through an SMS system on the same computer or on a computer connected through a local network. These instant messaging (IM) pioneers paved the way for the emergence of the booming instant messaging market in 2019. IM applications that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s provided the foundation for modern IM.

The world’s first IM

peer protocol communication between two directly connected computers. As developers built networked computers, programmers expanded the system of peer-to-peer protocols, allowing users in a campus or city to access these two-way text messages without logging into the same computer.

Mark Jenks and Tok

In 1983, Mark Jenks, a high school student in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, created Talk, a system that allowed high school students in Washington to access digital bulletin boards and send private messages to each other. Application also known as: speaking , requires users to log in with a handle or alias. In the mid-1990s, additional speakers were created across the country and placed on private business and school networks.

Internet relay race and journalism

Internet Relay Chat (IRC), created by Jarkko Oikarinen in August 1988, allowed users to communicate in multi-user groups known as channel send private messages and share files through a data transfer system.

The internet and the IRC affected the realm of politics and government on August 19, 1991, when a coup d’├ętat was staged in the capital of the Soviet Union. The opposition, a group of Communist Party leaders protesting the recent alliance agreement negotiated by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, prevented journalists from reporting on the events by forcing them to shut down the media. Unable to broadcast news via television or cable, journalists turned to IRC for information from colleagues and eyewitnesses on the ground. Journalists also used IRC to exchange news during the first Gulf War.

In 1982, Commodore International released the 8-bit PC, which revolutionized the computing world and the next generation of instant messaging. The Commodore 64, the best-selling single computer model of all time, gave home users access to electronic computing with more than 10,000 commercial software products, including the Quantum Link or Q-Link Internet service.

Using the PETSCII text system, users sent online messages to each other via a dial-up modem and the Quantum Link service. Without GPUs or modern graphics cards, the first user’s instant messaging experience was relatively dull; The recipient saw a yellow bar on the Quantum software, indicating that they had received the message. The recipient can then reply to or ignore the message.

ICQ, Yahoo Messenger and AIM

In 1991, Quantum Link changed its name to America Online and helped usher in a new era of instant messaging. Later in the decade, ICQ, the SMS messenger, was the first to hit the market, and AIM mostly attracted young, tech-savvy users who took the opportunity to interact with IM.

Yahoo launched Yahoo Messenger in 1998, then Microsoft’s MSN in 1999, and countless others in the 2000s. Google Talk (now known as Google Hangouts) was released in 2005.

Multiprotocol IM changes the rules

Before 2000, chat users had no choice but to use multiple chat applications to access friends on different networks. It was then that Jabber appeared, allowing users to chat with friends in their AIM, Yahoo, and MSN contact lists at the same time from one application.

Also known as multi-protocol IM, Jabber unified IM by acting as a single gateway that can access multiple IM clients simultaneously. Other multi-protocol clients included Pidgin, Trillian, Adium, and Miranda.

Social media and mobile instant messaging

With the rise of social networks and services such as Facebook and Twitter, and the shift to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, instant messaging has persisted and evolved.

For example, Facebook offered Facebook Chat, where users communicate with each other through an IM-like interface. Facebook Chat provides an API that allows third-party applications such as AIM and Adium to connect to the service so that users can continue to centralize their various IM services. However, in 2015, Facebook closed the API and third-party apps were no longer able to access their instant messaging service, which was rebranded as Facebook Messenger.

Mobile platforms have performed well for instant messaging, and established instant messaging services have offered mobile app versions of their instant messaging services. The app market has exploded with many new instant messaging apps.

On PC, web technology has improved significantly in the late 2000s and 2010s and there is no longer a need to download and install an application to use popular instant messaging services such as Yahoo Messenger, AIM and ICQ.

Instant messaging services have also gained access to new forms of communication accessed over the Internet, including VoIP and Internet phone calls, as well as text messages. Chats and apps like Skype and FaceTime also enhance the video chat experience.

Instant messaging in 2019

As of mid-2019, billions of people around the world had IM accounts. The best instant messaging apps are WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as well as WeChat and QQ Mobile, both popular in China. Users also communicate via Skype, Snapchat, Viber, Line, and Telegram, as well as others like Wrike and Slack designed specifically for business use. Many instant messaging apps offer the ability to video chat, send attachments, and other advanced features.

Businesses, political organizations and other organizations are increasingly using IM as a way to communicate with customers and enter the market. Many companies also use IM as a single channel for customer service, often in conjunction with chatbots.

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