Diversity of instant messenger networks promoted all-n-ne approach to IM clients. Still in some circumstances you have nothing but browser. Email services traditionally provide web-based interface, IM services do not.
meebo is web-based app that is a client to the multiply IM services and runs completely in browser.
What it does
Site allows to login into one or multiply IM services and chat in there, completely in browser. For common services you can use account from service alone alone, but for all of them and extra features you can register meebo account and attach other services to it.
Including, but not limited to:
When logged in you get desktop-like interface with unified contact list for all services. Contact list and chat windows can run inside meebo browser tab or be separated into separate browser tabs.
If visiting from phone you get mobile-adapted version of the site.
App provides core functionality of IM nicely and doesn’t get in your way. It doesn’t require any plugins or special connectivity settings other than decent browser and open port for https connections.
It may not be as smooth and snappy like desktop clients, but definitely just as comfortable to actually chat.
Despite that meebo itself is purely web service it also offers number of software extensions:
- tray notifier;
- Firefox plugin;
- repeater to help bypass configurations that block meebo;
- client apps for Android and iPhone;
- bar and widget for sites.
Site works best only with latin character set. Support for other encodings did get better over years, but texts still get broken here and there.
As for usability it could indicate unread messages in title. There is sound alert option, but it is naturally useless when there is no audio.
Also – no Twitter support? I don’t know if this is weird or refreshing.
Very solid, free and feature-rich service with minimum amount of ads (single collapsible ad at the bottom of interface). It works fine as browser-only replacement for desktop clients and I imagine is capable enough to serve as only client needed to some.