Ever since Google invited me to beta test their Cr-48 Chrome OS Notebook and join their Pilot Program, I’ve been doing a lot of research and test driving a variety of Cloud solutions for applications that, traditionally, I’ve relied on desktop apps to accomplish.
One of the first things I was lost without was a good IM solution, my app of choice for years has been Trillian’s desktop app. I know there are web-based solutions out there (Meebo and Trillian for Web two name a couple) and while I’m not intimately familiar with all of the features each of them offer I could never get passed the UI of either one of them. They both seem bulky and cluttered and lacking a certain snappiness I look for in web-based apps.
Right off the bat you get the impression that imo stands out as a web-based messenger and as you start using it you find out quickly that it’s really much more than that.
Founded by brothers Ralph and Georges Harik in 2007 imo seems poised to become a serious contender in the web-based messenger arena.
From their website:
imo.im is a web-based service that allows users to hold text, voice, and video chats on multiple instant messaging protocols. Currently supported protocols include AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, MSN, MySpace, Skype, and Yahoo Messenger. The service is free and requires no user-registration or sign-up.
Yes, they have Skype integration and the ability to make voice and video calls right inside the app using Skype or GTalk!
About imo.im’s Founders
Ralph Harik has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in computer science from MIT and brother Georges is the former Director of Googlettes and a Distinguished Engineer at Google. His team was responsible for product management and strategy efforts such Google initiatives as Gmail, Google Talk, Google Video, Picasa, Orkut, Google Groups and Google Mobile.
I’m guessing they know a little bit about the future of Cloud computing and it’s potential.
I really can’t get over how clean and user-friendly the UI is, you can definitely see the Google minimilistic design influence in imo.im. Since I’ve started using it I’m not only using it on my Cr-48 but I’ve also found myself relying on it soley even when I’m using my desktop. Even having more than a half a dozen conversations going at the same time the window doesn’t seem cluttered and when you want to initiate a conversation with someone, going to the imo.im dashboard is much quicker and simpler than cycling through a number of open rogue IM windows.
If you’ve tried or are already using imo I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments. If you haven’t tried it give it a shot and let us know what you think.