Internet Tips: A Grown-Up's Guide to Instant Messaging

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Talk of the Town: Instant Messaging Smorgasbord

AOL Instant Messenger 5.2: The most popular IM client doesn't do video or SMS messaging to cell phones; it does display ads.

Gaim 0.72: A free, open-source universal IM client, Gaim supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, and IRC; it has just basic features, though.

ICQ Pro 2003b: This feature-rich, ad-supported client connects to both AIM and ICQ clients; it sends SMS messages but doesn't support voice or video chat.

ICQ Lite: The streamlined version of ICQ contains a subset of ICQ Pro's features.

IMsecure/IMsecure Pro Trial Version: Zone Labs' free IM security utility protects you from various threats that standard firewalls and antivirus programs miss.

MSN Messenger 6.1: Microsoft's IM client software for Windows versions other than XP supports voice, video, and SMS chat.

Trillian Basic 0.74F: This free universal IM client lacks ads and supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, and IRC protocols; no voice or video chat.

Windows Messenger: This client, compatible with MSN Messenger, is available only as a component of Windows XP; it supports voice, video, and SMS chat.

Yahoo Messenger: Often overlooked, this IM client does it all--voice, video, and SMS chat--with fewer ads than other systems carry.

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