Pidgin, known as "Gaim" in early releases, is available on the Windows and Linux platforms. Pidgin is an open-source IM client, which has caused the service to rise in popularity over other chat clients. Like other open-source programs, Pidgin boasts several plug-ins created by users and developers to both customize and improve its overall functionality.
AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger are three instant message and chat clients available online. Navigating through these messengers to keep in touch with friends and contacts can be cumbersome and time consuming. Use one of several messenger programs to combine all of your contacts into one program.
In addition to connecting with most major instant messenger clients, Digsby combines social networking and email functions into an all-purpose communications suite. At the time of publication, Digsby is only available on Windows. Digsby is available for free through an advertisement-based program, or you can purchase the premium package and operate it ad free.
Meebo combines support for several instant messenger and chat clients in a Web-based format. In addition to IM and chat, Meebo also supports voice and video chat. It also has an iPhone app that allows you to use it on the go. Meebo does not have any operating system limitations and can be used on any computer with a Web browser and an active Internet connection.
Trillian was one of the first programs to combine multiple instant messaging clients into one program. Like Digsby, Trillian offers both free and fee-based programs that vary in functionality. Trillian has released "Trillian Astra" in alpha testing and is currently only offered on the Windows platform, but has announced plans for both a Mac and iPhone release.