It was recently announced, via data collected by analysts at Informa, that IP-based messaging platforms have grown more popular than traditional SMS. In the age of always-on Internet connections and increased smartphone accessibility, this is really no surprise. And, for that matter, there’s really no shortage of chat apps flooding mobile ecosystems right now, with WhatsApp, Kik and even Facebook leading the charge.
While those options are great for connecting to users all across the world, I’m old school, and continue to use instant messaging platforms to communicate with co-workers throughout the day. On the computer, I typically use GTalk, via Mountain Lion’s Messages app, to keep in touch with the Herd. But when I’m mobile, and I don’t have an Android phone handy, I’ve found that a little app called imo messenger, which is free, keeps me in touch when I need to be.
Imo currently supports accounts through MSN, Facebook, Google Talk, Yahoo!, Skype, AIM (AIM!), ICQ, Jabber and Steam, among others. That’s a ton of messaging options, all of which give you the flexibility to participate in group messages, share photos and video, perform voice calls (and voice IMs) and save chat history for later. That’s particularly handy if I need to refer to something from a few days back.
Imo told TechnoBuffalo that between iOS, Android and BlackBerry, users on the platform send more than 50 million messages a day, with about 700,000 unique visits. With so many IM platforms under one roof, it’s easy to see why imo is used so often—did we mention it’s free? It’s free.
One of the most convenient aspects of imo is the ability to link accounts. When you register with imo, you can then login to additional IM services (up to 12) and then link all of those accounts together. What this does is sign you into all of your accounts when only logging in to one account. And when you are logged in, notifications will stream in the same way normal messages do.
Using the app itself is pretty effortless, and the UI is fairly intuitive. It’s not something I use on the daily, but when I need to keep in contact with work colleagues, it’s something I rely on when I’m mobile. Email and text are always solid ways to communicate, but messaging is clearly going away from traditional SMS. If services like WhatsApp and Kik don’t do it for you, imo messenger is a wonderful alternative.