Stands for “Instant Message.”

Instant messaging is a type of real-time textual content chat between two or more folks over the Internet. It is much like SMS textual content messaging however operates over any web connection as an alternative of relying strictly on a cell phone network. IM conversations happen in real-time, permitting customers of the identical messaging service to interact in dialog by typing out and exchanging messages. Users may interact in a number of conversations without delay in separate threads.

Instant messaging has caught on as a result of its comfort and pace, letting folks talk quicker than e mail and fewer intrusively than a voice or video name. Many immediate messaging platforms can be found, however most are incompatible with one another and might solely ship messages to their very own customers. Instant messaging platforms embody extra options past merely sending messages forwards and backwards — many help you see whether or not a consumer is on-line and if they’re at the moment typing a message. Many additionally help you ship images and video, alternate information, or start a fast VoIP or video name. Most present encryption to maintain conversations personal, with some providing safe end-to-end encryption.

Apple's iMessage service lets mobile and desktop users send instant messages
Apple’s iMessage service lets cell and desktop customers ship immediate messages

Early immediate messaging predates the Internet and operated over a neighborhood connection. The Talk program allowed two customers signed into the identical Unix server to ship messages that would seem on every others’ terminals. Instant messaging quickly gained reputation within the late Nineties as providers like AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ allowed folks to ship immediate messages to their associates after they had been on-line. Instant messaging options got here to different on-line providers like Gmail and Facebook, letting folks immediate message their e mail contacts and social media associates. Mobile-oriented immediate messaging apps like WhatsApp and that iMessage got here to smartphones as soon as they turned widespread within the 2010s, changing SMS as the first textual content messaging technique.

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