A Sneak Peek at Trillian 3.0 Instant Messaging

The Trillian instant messaging (IM) application will feature several enhancements in its upcoming version 3.0, including new video and audio chat capabilities, enhanced IM session logs, and integration with the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, according to information posted Friday on the product developer's Web site.

Trillian, developed by Cerulean Studios, is an application that consolidates in a single interface IM contacts from a variety of IM services, such as America Online's AIM, Yahoo's Yahoo Messenger, and Microsoft's MSN Messenger. Because most IM services don't interoperate with each other, it's necessary to log on separately to each IM network to communicate with its members. While Trillian doesn't solve the interoperability problem, it does prevent users from having to keep an IM buddy-list interface open for each network.

The much-anticipated version 3.0 of Trillian went into public alpha testing on Friday, wrote Scott Werndorfer, Cerulean Studios' cofounder and head developer, in an entry to the company's blog Also on Friday, the company posted a sneak preview of Trillian 3.0's new features and enhancements in its home page.

Video Emoticons

For video chat, Trillian 3.0 features picture-in-picture mode, full-screen mode, and side-by-side video windows, according to the sneak preview. Video chat also has a new feature called Emotiblips for sharing audio and video clips in real-time during an IM session; Cerulean Studios says Emotiblips are the audio/video equivalent of emoticons. Another new feature is video filters such as gray scale, sepia, and pixilation; the filters let users customize their video streaming look and mood.

With audio chats, billed as all new, Trillian 3.0 users will be able to make audio calls from the Trillian interface to users on different networks, such as MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. Trillian 3.0 also has a volume control interface, including a mute button, an audio recording and playback feature, and support for Yahoo Chatrooms for audio conferencing.

Meanwhile, the enhanced session logging feature offers a new "timeline view" that lists all IM conversations by date and time, as well as their duration. With Trillian 3.0, users can bookmark important moments within IM conversations. Trillian 3.0 will also let users search through archived conversations by keyword, date, or type.

A feature called Instant Lookup underlines on-the-fly terms that appear in IM conversations and have an entry in the Wikipedia. Hovering over the word or phrase pops up a brief summary of it, while clicking on it provides further options. Trillian 3.0 supports launching a Web search for a word or phrase by right-clicking on it directly from the IM chat window.

Trillian 3.0 features enhancements to the interface's layout, aimed at making it tidier and more intuitive.

The fee-based Trillian Pro 3.0 version will contain all of these features, while the free Trillian Basic 3.0 version will not have all of the new features.

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