Alternate means of instant messaging on the desktop

Did you use Yahoo Messenger back in the day? How about AOL Instant Messenger? Both of these services have died out in favor of mobile texting. Do you grow wearing of tippy-tapping messages on a cell phone? Chatting on desktop is much easier with a full keyboard. But the desktop has seen some of its big message apps like Yahoo and AOL die out years ago.

Thankfully there are new alternatives for chatting on desktop.

Adium message windowGoogle Hangouts, of course (or also known as Google Talk). If you are on a Mac, use the Adium app. You don’t have to keep a browser window open all the time. Just add your Google account to Adium, and you are ready to go! In fact, while you are in Adium, go ahead and add your AOL Instant Messenger account. It doesn’t hurt! Just don’t bother adding Microsoft Lync or Yahoo Messenger to Adium. Unfortunately, those two do not work in Adium.

Messages is another great app for Mac users. Not only does it handle the iOS iMessages, you can also add Google, Yahoo, and AOL! If Messages does all these, why use Adium for Google and AOL? Because Adium has better chat archiving features. Plus, I like the tabbed interface of Adium better. You can even customize the Adium chat window to your exact specs.

To help clarify: here are the services that Adium and Messages can do:


  • AOL IM
  • Google Hangouts (no video)


  • AOL IM
  • Google Hangouts (not sure about video)
  • Apple iOS / iMessage (with video)
  • Yahoo Messenger
Tweetdeck messages column (for all accounts)
Tweetdeck messages column (for all accounts)

Here’s a crazy idea. Use Twitter Direct Messages as instant messages? I’m still trying to make this one work, because there really isn’t an application that does this. The closest is Twitter’s Tweetdeck. If you have multiple Twitter accounts, you can even have one column that combines together all your accounts! However, there are no desktop notifications for Tweetdeck. If you want to be notified of a new DM on desktop, you have to use the Twitter desktop app. Confusing, I know. That’s why Twitter DM isn’t quite there yet for IM abilities.

If you want to go even more crazy, dig back into your ICQ account. Yes. Jump back into the 90s and open up ICQ–it’s still around with apps for all platforms. But good luck finding anyone on the service. And if you want a slew of other standalone services, there is: Viber, Hipchat, Line, and Moped.

Then there’s Skype. But I heard it’s very buggy.

Facebook Messenger–where’s that on this list? Currently I cannot find any desktop applications on the Mac that support Facebook. You can only chat in Facebook through the website, or through mobile apps. no desktop apps. The same holds true for Whatsapp and Snapchat. Maybe one of these days, I’ll just set up my iPad with a bluetooth keyboard to use these message apps. However, that’s a lot of message apps to keep track of. That’s why I love Adium and Messages. They combine several services into one application.

I am always open to chats! A great majority of my blog post ideas come from instant message chats, so I always welcome IMs from people.

Here’s where you can reach me:

  • AOL IM: spudart
  • Google Hangouts: (text only please)
  • iMessage:
  • Twitter: @spudart
  • Yahoo Messenger: (I only occasionally sign into Yahoo Messenger)

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1 thought on “Alternate means of instant messaging on the desktop”

  1. In the past I have gotten Adium to work with the following services, but I am no longer able to get Adium to connect:
    * Yahoo Messenger
    * Microsoft Lync
    * Facebook Messenger
    * ICQ

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