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Among its many uses and benefits, the Internet has transformed and simplified how people communicate with each other around the globe. In addition toinstant messaging has played a large role in bringing people together.

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But where did it all start? Instant messaging has been an evolving idea for a long time, so it's somewhat difficult to pinpoint its origin.

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In fact, did you know that instant messaging, or at least an early form of the concept, actually predates the World Wide Web? The phrase "instant messaging" entered common usage in the early s, but the concept actually dates back to the mids.

The system, which is perhaps closer to what we now think of ashad hundreds of registered users from MIT and other New England colleges by In the s, programmers worked on peer-to-peer protocol, allowing universities and research labs to establish simple communication between users of the same computer.

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The s also saw great interest in the bulletin board system, or BBS — a system that allowed users to use a terminal program to and download software and exchange direct messages with others. Q-Link users could pay a monthly fee to send text-based messages to others via modem, and the receiver had the option of responding to or ignoring the messages.

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CompuServe's CB Simulator, created in to simulate citizens band radio through text-based messages and user handles, is considered the first service dedicated to online chat. InIsraeli company Mirabilis launched ICQa text-based messenger that was the first to really reach a widespread market of online users. ICQ allowed for multi-user chats, file transfers, a searchable user directory and more.

The latest version of ICQ includes Facebook integration, mobile sync and further updates. When you think of AIM, you can probably hear the sounds of opening and closing doors when friends appeared and disappeared on your Buddy List.

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Like the services before it, AIM allowed users to send messages to each other, and included user profiles, away messages and icons for more engagement. With AIM also came the development of different bots, such as StudyBuddy and SmarterChild which have since been retiredwith whom users could interact.

ByAIM dominated the instant messaging market with 53 million users. Yahoo launched Yahoo!

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Messenger inoriginally under the name Yahoo! Used with a user's Yahoo! ID, Yahoo! Messenger included customized "IMVironments," address book integration and custom status messages. Like AOL, Yahoo had a chat room service.

Impressive beginnings

Pidginfounded as "Gaim" in as an open-source instant messaging client, allowed users to reach contacts on several operating systems. Init was estimated that Pidgin had 3 million users. Microsoft released MSN Messenger in A press release from its launch read, "MSN Messenger Service tells consumers when their friends, family and colleagues are online and enables them to exchange online messages and with the more than 40 million users of the MSN Hotmail TM Web-based service as well as with people using AOL Instant Messenger.

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Inthe company announced more than million active users every month. A major aspect of the rise of instant messaging in the s was the shorthand language and acronyms that came with it:.

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IM language became so ubiquitous that it's completely common usage today, even in s and SMS mobile text messaging. InInternet users took notice of Jabbera multi-protocol instant messenger that acted as a single gateway for users to chat with friends and access their buddy lists on all of the big networks at the time: AIM, Yahoo and MSN. Most recently, in AugustJabber disabled new registrations due to user abuse and denial of service attacks.

Founded inSkype allows Internet users to communicate with others through video, voice and instant messaging. The instant messaging aspect of the service, while perhaps not its most popular function compared to video conferences, is used by many. In JulySkype announced integration with Facebook, so users could see Facebook friends on Skype and see Facebook Chat through both services.

Meebo began in as an instant messaging service accessed via web browser. Before it was acquired by Google last June, it supported Yahoo! Meebo had also developed mobile versions for iPhone and Android.

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Available in various web, native and mobile applications, Google Talk always appears in a Gmail user's window, allowing for easy communication with contacts. The service includes text-based messaging, voice calls and video conferences.

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Myspace developed MySpaceIM in as an addition to its social platform — the first social network to do so. Users could instant message with friends on their desktops, as well as online starting inthrough MySpaceIM for Web. Later the service was integrated with Skype. Facebook released Facebook Chat inallowing users to instant message one friend or multiple people through the groups feature while logged into the social network.

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InFacebook announced the incorporation of video in Chat — integrated with Skype — and has also released the mobile app Facebook Messenger. Where will these services go next? Tell us your thoughts on the future of instant messaging in the comments.

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Image courtesy of iStockphototupungato. We're using cookies to improve your experience. Find out more. Tech Like Follow. Here's a look at the important advances of instant messaging made over the past 50 years.

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Impressive Beginnings The phrase "instant messaging" entered common usage in the early s, but the concept actually dates back to the mids. The Rise of the Instant Messaging Market InIsraeli company Mirabilis launched ICQa text-based messenger that was the first to really reach a widespread market of online users.

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Instant Messaging in the s InInternet users took notice of Jabbera multi-protocol instant messenger that acted as a single gateway for users to chat with friends and access their buddy lists on all of the big networks at the time: AIM, Yahoo and MSN.

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