Saturday, 3 November 2007

Pidgin for Instant Messaging

PidginYesterday I was sitting in a meeting at Duke about instructional technology and we got chatting about a variety of things, one of which was instant messaging. I was lamenting the problems of multiple different instant messengers, and a Mac user present mentioned an kind of aggregator that enables one to gather together all one's different accounts under one client. They mentioned that there was an equivalent for Windows called Trillian. As soon as I got home, I gave it a try, but it has a problem: the free version does not incorporate Google Talk, which is one of the messaging services I use most often. But a quick search around revealed that there is an excellent open source option that covers all the messengers I use. It is called Pidgin (formally Gaim). It's easy to use and install, and I have already used it to message people on both Google Talk and YIM, and have added contacts from AIM and MSN too. So far, I'm impressed with it. The only downside is that it does not seem to be able to pick up Skype yet. Here's the website for the free download:


I have often wondered how long it will take before instant messaging will begin to become simpler across a group of different services. It is not as if you can only phone someone up who is on the same phone company as you, or only email someone who is on your email service. And it seems that the future is already here on this one. I love a nice new bit of useful technology and am amazed that I hadn't heard about it until now. What fun.


Loren Rosson III said...

Yes Mark, Gaim is excellent (I still need to upgrade to Pidgin) -- it's the messenger I've been using for some time now. And you can have a lot of fun with the package of "filthy smilies" (an optional add-on). They're a riot.

Chris Weimer said...

Hrm, way back when I didn't have much luck with GAIM, though that was years ago. I'll give it another try. Professor Goodacre, what is your IM account? You can facebook it to me if you don't want it published on the internet. :)