Google Talk (Gtalk) – The newest kid on the block, and probably set to become one of the more popular ones since it integrates with Gmail seamlessly. I know it’s labeled as a “beta” (is there anything made by Google that isn’t labeled as a “beta”?), but it is still sporting a very “Web 1.0” feel to it. I mean, I know it’s silly, but it doesn’t even have emoticons yet? I do love the fact it saves all your conversations, if you like, to your Gmail account for easy reference later on. Yes you can log conversations with all the programs now, but the centralized saving maks retrieval easy and searchable.
Windows Live Messenger (MSN) – My feelings on this one swing radically. One day I’ll love it, the next I want to see it burn to the ground. And the sad thing is, I’m not sure I could even tell you why. I just really don’t like the feel of the program for some odd reason. I do like the ability to add emoticons (some of mine have gotten pretty odd), and voice clipping is nice a short voice burst, but overall, something about this program just never feels right.
Yahoo Instant Messenger (YIM) – Oh Yahoo… I think they just can’t decide where this one is going honestly. It works, but it just feels like the forgotten step child of instant messaging sometimes. Yes, it has a lot of the same features as the others, but they just don’t feel as well executed for some reason. I try to avoid this one the most, but I still end up on it quite often.
Now, true, I didn’t cover ICQ, but I haven’t used it in years. I know there is a seeming “geek street cred” to using it, but it just never appealed to me much.
I think when it all comes down to it, it’s all about personal preference, and what feels best to you. For right now, I’m really liking Gtalk, but that could always change by tomorrow. Secondly I would probably go MSN, then AIM, and lastly with Yahoo. But, again, it’s all about what feels right to you.