Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Multi messengers-do they work?

There are many different video chat messengers and the most well known ones are Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. But there are also other multi network messengers,such as Digsby and Trillian. That claim to allow you to chat with friends on all networks,such as Google Talk and Windows Live from the same messenger. If you have got Windows Live Messenger you can only chat with contacts who have a Windows Live account, but with Trillian, Digsby and others you can do live voice and video chat with contacts on Google,Yahoo,Windows Live and many other services. But how do these multi chat messengers work and are they worth downloading and using? 

For those of you who do not know,a live chat messenger lets you have a voice and video chat on your computer to a friend or contact by calling their computer. A bit like a telephone, only much better, because you can see and hear the person you are calling and you can send them files and photos,while chatting and live email text messages. Some chat messengers allow you to send voice and video messages when the person is offline as well in addition to live chat,and even make calls to mobile phones. But most chat messengers like Windows Live and Yahoo messenger will only allow you to call contacts who have Yahoo accounts.

 And Windows Live only allows you to call someone who has a Windows Live account,for example. Also to be able to chat with your contact, you or they, have to send an email invitation to chat, and they or you must except the invitation, before the messenger will let you talk live to them.It does not make a lot of sense does it? As you can email anyone on any service,for example from Google mail send email to someone on Yahoo and visa versa. But with live chat this is not the case,although some chat messengers will let you just call the contact direct without an invitation.

I was using Windows Live Messenger but it kept crashing and was not user friendly.I sent my friend the invite to chat and they clicked on it but still there was no link and we could not talk. Then they sent me the invite but when I clicked on it we still could not chat. Because the messenger would not allow it.I tried upgrading from regular Windows Live to Windows Live Messenger Beta for windows 7,which I have. 

But still,the same problem, and another annoying thing was,that although I had two Windows live accounts linked to my friend on Windows Live. I could only send them an offline video message with one of my accounts.Why? Windows Live Messenger Beta lets you send offline video messages to the person offline,regular Windows Live only allows offline voice mails. And you can also send a voice mail to someone who is not on Windows Live,but they have to open a Windows Live account before you can chat live to them.But Windows Live crashes all the time and so in the end I uninstalled it,from my laptop. 

I now use Aim messenger from Aol and this is very user friendly. What I like about this is you don't have to send invites to chat or be invited to chat to your friends. You just add the contacts Aol user name to your buddy list and just call them direct. And the settings are marked very clear and there are icons to click on to start a video chat or just a voice chat only.

It is true with Aim Messenger you can only call people who have an Aol email account or Aim account which is the same thing. That is if you have an Aol email address, then that is also your Aim address user name,to use on Aim. Aim Messenger also allows live email text messages and if the person is offline,they are still sent to them. To read when they next log into the messenger or their email account. Aim is one of the best messengers I have used and although it is for Windows XP and Windows Vista,it works on Windows 7 too. Most software designed for Windows Vista will work on Windows 7 because,Vista is similar to Windows 7. But as I mentioned you can only call contacts on Aol not any other accounts,but that does not matter to me as this messenger is good and works. But going back to Digsby and Trillian and other multi messengers. 

I have tried most of them and they do not work. Digsby claims to let you call contacts on Google Talk,Aim,Yahoo,Windows Live,but I found the voice chat did not work. The video plug in did not work either and I could not even call my contacts direct. All my Google Talk and Aim contacts got was a link for them to download Digsby. And this messenger is supposed to allow direct chat to all of these contacts on other services. 

I uninstalled Digsby and Trillian was even worse, I could not master the settings to do video or voice chat and could not even do live text chat. Trillian was not user friendly at all. ICQ was not any better,but I was able to call my friends on Aim but not on Google Talk as it did not work,on there as it claimed to. 

These multi messengers work with you giving them your Yahoo log in details or Aim log in details for example. Then the messenger is supposed to fetch your saved contacts on that account and connect you,but it just did not work. It was the same problem with every multi network messenger I tried. So to the question,do multi messengers work? The short answer is no. But there are some that did. Meebo is another multi messenger but unlike most others you do not have to download and install it on your computer. It is a web messenger you use just by going on their website and logging in. From here you can do live video chat to Google,Aim and other networks. Meeboo actually works well and it is useful if you are using a public computer. Such as in an internet cafe,where often downloads are blocked and you cannot download anything. With Meebo you just go to the Meebo website,log in and use it,simple as that. Nimbuzz is another multi messenger that works,you can use it on the web or download it on your computer. 

So Nimbuzz is a desktop messenger and a web messenger as well. On the downloaded version you can do live email text chat to many networks but not voice or video chat.Except on calls to Google Talk and Nimbuzz contacts,where you can do voice chat but not video chat. But although Nimbuzz is a simple messenger it works on all networks and the voice chat to my Google and Nimbuzz contacts was very clear. Also Nimbuzz will let you know when you have new email in your Google inbox which is very useful. Google Talk is another very reliable messenger,the desktop gadget does voice chat only. It will also let you know when you have a new email in your Google mail inbox,like Nimbuzz does. And you can also do video chat by logging into your Google mail account and chat from there by clicking on the camera icon. 

 On Google Talk you can only chat with other Google mail users. And you do have to be invited by the other person to chat or you can send them an invite to chat. But unlike Windows Live,on Google,there is a clear link to click on, and that person is then your contact. Although you cannot chat with anybody not on Google Talk,you can send voice messages to people offline and on other networks. But they have to have or open a Google account to do live chat with you. But the voice message facility is useful and you can also send email text with the voice mail.

The video chat on Google is done actually on the web,but most web browsers support,the video plug in. So you use Google video and voice chat with most web browsers as Google talk supports most of them. Multi network messengers claim to support all other networks but in fact you are using third party software to access contacts on Aol or Windows Live and it does not work. Where as if you use Aim Messenger to call Aim contacts or Yahoo Messenger to call yahoo contacts. It is the same software,so it can connect with the other persons computer. 

The idea of a multi messenger is to have one messenger to access contacts on all networks. Instead of having three different messengers on your desktop. But what is the point if they do not work?It is better to have several different messengers on your computer and log into each one,rather than one multi messenger that does not work. My advice is to stick to using your windows live or your Aim Messenger or whatever you use. It is not worth wasting your time with a multi messenger.

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