Some facts about Instant Messaging…

We all daily use Instant Messaging softwares or websites, including our indoona. We do it to communicate quickly and easily with friends and family and share files and documents. We are so used to using the chat – via PCs and smartphones – that probably we don’t remember anymore when we started to chat and what was “our” first chat service.

Where did it all start? Here are some interesting facts about the history of instant messaging, many years before the rise of Whatsapp, indoona and their “brothers”:

  • The precursor of instant messaging was the Bulletin Board System, or BBS: it was a system that allowed users to use a terminal program to upload and download software, read news and bulletins, exchange messages with other users through email, public message boards and sometimes via direct chat messages. The first BBS was the Computerized Bulletin Board System, or CBBS, developed by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess. It went online on 16 February 1978.
  • The Zephyr Notification Service, created at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1980s, was – in a sense – the first “IM” system: it used Unix to locate and send messages to users. MIT still uses the service.
  • ICQ (“I seek you”), a text-based instant messenger was the first software to go mass market: it was launched in 1996 and allowed for multi-user chats and file transfers. ICQ still exists and its latest version includes Facebook integration, mobile sync and other updates.
  • A particular type of chat is the Internet Relay Chat (IRC), mainly designed for group communication in discussion channels, but that also allows one-on-one communication via private messages as well as chat and file transfers. It requires peers to connect to a server. The most popular IRC client is mIRC,  created in 1995 and still running.
  • In 2009 the most popular IM system was Live Messenger (MSN) by Microsoft, with over 330 million active users each month and approximately 1.5 billion conversations per day. The service was shut down on October 31, 2014.
  • Many instant messaging services, like indoona by Tiscali and Skype, today use WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) technology: it is an API definition that allows real-time communications in Web browsers.