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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What is meant by Instant Messaging?

Almost everyone today is familiar with the term ‘Instant messaging’ or IM in short. 
- This is a type of communication that sustains over the internet and quickly transmits the text based messages between people (i.e., senders and receivers). 
- The basic purpose of IM is to provide “real time direct written language–based online chat”. 
- It does this through push mode and other shared clients between two or more people using personal communication devices (mobiles) and personal computers. 
- A network such as the internet is used for conveying the text message for the person it is intended for. 
- IM addresses two kinds of communications namely:
  1. Point – to – point communications i.e., from one person to another one person.
  2. Multicast communications i.e., from one sender to a number of receivers.
- Nowadays, much enhanced modes of communication have been introduced by advanced instant messaging services. 
- Some enhancements are inclusion of video chat, audio calling and hyperlinks to other media etc. 
- The umbrella term is the online chat under which the concept of IM falls. 
- The similarity between them is that they are text based, happens in real time and offer bi – directional flow of messages. 
- The only distinction is that the IM is based up on clients. 
- The connections between the known users are facilitated by these clients only through a contact list (also known as friend list or buddy list).
- On the other hand, chat works up on web – based applications that facilitate communication between multiple users.
- A number of communication technologies that facilitates text based communication are combined together to provide the service of instant messaging. 
- The biggest feature of the IM – chats is that they take place in real time just like a phone call. 
- IM is different from the other web services such e–mail in the sense that users here perceive the “quasi – synchronicity of the communications”. 
- In IM, you can message only those people who are online at that time. 
However, there exist some systems that allow you to message offline people, thus drawing some similarity between e–mail and IM.
- IM is cheap and effective means for efficient communication. 
- It allows immediate receipt of the message and also enables us to reply back immediately. 
- However, it is not necessary that the transaction control might support the IM. 
- In some cases there are additional features that make IM more interesting as mentioned below:
  1. Enabling users to see each other via web cam.
  2. Using headphones and microphones and talk for free over internet.
  3. File transfers
  4. Saving a text conversation for future reference.
- Instant messaging came much before the internet and first appeared on systems such as multics (multiplexed information and computing service) and CTSS or compatible time sharing system which are multi – user systems. 
- Some of the IM services such as ytalk, talk, ntalk and so on, peer – to – peer protocol.
Some other examples of early IM services are:
  1. Zephyr notification service
  2. Bulletin board system or BBS
  3. Freelancin round table
  4. Compuserve CB simulator: this was the first dedicated online chat service
- Real time text was also a feature of these early instant messaging services.   
AOL’s real time IM implements the modern real time text feature as an optional feature. 
- Video calling features such as web conferencing services can integrate both IM abilities and video calling.

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