Taking heed from the recent release of Google Talk, I scoured online for a Windows multi-protocol instant messaging services. Right now, having installed two FREE candidates, I really can’t imagine downloading bloatware with a ton of features I won’t even get to use. I figured I just really needed it for basic messaging, and the ocassional file transfers.
Available protocols with installer: AIM, ICQ, Gadu-Gadu, Groupwise, IRC, Jabber, MSN, Napster, SILC, Yahoo
At 6.8MB, which is actually smaller in file size than either Yahoo or MSN’s IM’s, I still found it bulky. However, once downloaded and installed (when I was doing my Google Talk experiments), I found the GUI delightfully minimal and engaging. Will even work with user icons, and is themable. Fan of smileys? I’m not, but there are smiley packs for your enjoyment. Since Gaim has been ported to Windows since 2002, I really find it discomforting why some other non-Open Source multi-protocol IM clients (with a paid Premium version even!) holds a bigger market share.
Available protocols with Full Installer: AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, Gadu-Gadu, and IRC (more services can be used with additional downloads)
Tremendously tiny, at 239kb for the default and recommended Web Installer. It will need to download addtional files to make your chosen messenger services during installation to make those services run; an excellent option on my end, since I only needed the MSN, Yahoo, and Jabber (can be used for Google Talk) setups. Miranda IM’s full installer is at 943kb, but do consider that it will be fully ready to use six IM services already. The interface is tight, and light, and it slightly uses less resources compared to Gaim. The client is smiley-enabled, but these would be a separate download.
My choice? For now, its Gaim, but I’m already glad that I do have more choices out there.