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Instantbird 1.5

Access all your instant messaging accounts and social networks from within one program

by Joe Cassels

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Based on 1 ratings
License: Open Source
Operating Systems: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Server, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:
Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 22 February 2014
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 263
Developer: Instantbird
RSS News Feed:
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/#!/instantbird
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Instantbird
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Instantbird (Windows version)
Chat across your favourite IM and social media networks with Instantbird.

Once upon a time, instant messaging ruled the social networking roost. No longer, as the growth of Facebook and Twitter change the way we interact with each other in real time. Even during its heyday, you could find yourself having to sign up for multiple instant messaging accounts like Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger in order to keep in touch with everyone.

To get over this problem, tools like Trillian and Pidgin allow you to access most – if not all – of your accounts through a single interface. Over time, both have developed to include social networking sites too, which is why Instant Bird feels like it’s a little late to the party.

As a one stop shop designed to give you access to everyone you talk to online, Instantbird doesn’t quite hit the mark. There may be times when you’ve struck up a conversation on Twitter or Facebook and want to move to real-time messaging, but the program makes it no more easy than firing up your instant messenger of choice alongside the social media web page or desktop client.

Instantbird doesn’t support audio or video chatting either, and there’s no real feeling of integration beyond using the same interface, which is an evolution of Pidgin’s. That said, it can be convenient to keep everything in one place and the program shows a lot of potential, especially given its relatively small footprint on Windows.

Instantbird supports add-ons, extensions and themes in much the same model as Firefox, betraying its links to Mozilla. To find a new one, choose Tools > Add-ons and enter a search term. The selection is limited but the open source nature of the program should provide it with much potential to grow in future.

Instantbird 1.5 brings these changes:

•Creating a new conversation tab has been made easier.
•New tooltips that better fit the style of Instantbird
•Improved Multi-user chats user interface
•Auto-joined chat rooms that have been put on hold will stay on hold after a restart.
•A list of alternate nicks for IRC can be configured, in case your preferred nick is taken when you connect.
•Retina display support on Mac OS X.
•Google Talk and Hangouts Android users are now shown as mobile.
•Google Hangouts users will no longer appear as always typing.
•Better support for displaying RTL languages in conversations.
•Updated to Mozilla 25.

Verdict:

Instantbird has the potential to be a handy one-stop shop for instant messaging and social networking, but it’s not as slick or fully featured as some of its rivals.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

WhatsApp Messenger 2.12.1

Free Full Commercial Software

WhatsApp Messenger is the world's most popular instant messaging app for smartphones.

You can use it to send and receive text and voice messages, photos, videos, even call your friends in other countries, and because it uses your phone's internet connection it might not cost you anything at all (depending on whether you'll pay data charges).

It's easy to set up and use. There's no need to create and remember new account names or pins because it works with your phone number, and uses your regular address book to find and connect you with friends who use WhatsApp already.

You can talk one-to-one or in group chats, and because you're always logged in there's no way to miss messages. Even if your phone is turned off, WhatsApp will save your messages and display them as soon as you're back online.

There's plenty more (location sharing, contact exchange, message broadcasting) and the app is free for a year, currently $0.99/ year afterwards.

Version 2.12.1 brings:
 - WhatsApp Calling: Call your friends and family using WhatsApp for free, even if they’re in another country. WhatsApp calls use your phone’s Internet connection rather than your cellular plan’s voice minutes. Data charges may apply.

[...]
Value:
Free
Rating: