Instant Messaging

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Instant Messaging

Instant messaging (IM) is the latest trend in communication, which allows two or more persons to communicate by typing in text form and the message being received in real time. This form of messaging, compared to e-mail, allows for quick and easy responses to satisfy ones need for instant and constant communication. We will discuss the history of instant messaging; explore how it works and what is needed to enable this application. We will also discuss companies involved, regulatory issues, future trends in this area and the global implications of this relatively new form of communication.
In the 1970's early forms of messaging were implemented on private networks, and were used on the PLATO and DEC PDP-11 systems referred to as the "talk" program. Messaging was later incorporated into UNIX system and used by academics and engineers throughout the 1980's and early 1990's. In 1987 MIT created the first instant messaging tool called the Zephyr. In 1996 the company called Mirablis introduced ICQ, a free instant messaging tool in which anyone could use. America On Line (AOL) which had instant messaging as fee service became threatened by the number of users of ICQ and purchased the company. With the explosion of growth from ICQ, it led to new companies seeking to build upon this new form of communication.

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MLA Citation:
"Instant Messaging." 23 Jun 2018
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So how does Instant Messaging work? Let's walk through
the process of connecting and how the tool works. It requires the IM client application to be loaded on your computer. The software will connect to the IM host server, using its proprietary protocol to communicate. Once connected to the server, you may register for an account ID or log onto the server using an existing ID. Upon verification of your ID by the server, you may use the tool.
Once you have logged in, the client application will send the server its Internet Protocol (IP) and the port assigned the client computer. Should you be an existing user of the tool, it will then check your "contacts" list to see if of your contacts are logged onto the application. If one of your contacts is available the server will send their connection information to your client application. The server will also send your connection information to all those listed on your contact list if they are signed on. Should your IM application receive connection information from a person on your contact list, the status of the person on your list changes to reflect their "online" status.
To communicate to someone on your contact list, simply click that persons name and a window will appear. The window allows any form of text, at which point upon typing your message you click "send" to send your message. Since your client application now has the necessary connection information, the host server is not needed and communication is held directly between computers. As messages are sent back and forth, the window will contain the dialogue of the conversation as all messages send and received will appear on both computers.
After you have ended your conversation and you close the application, the client application will send a message to the host server to terminate the session. The server will then send a message to everyone on your contact list that is online, that you are logged off. This will change the status of your name on their contact list to unavailable.
Some of today's Instant Messaging companies include: AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Tencent (QQ), E-Bay (Skype), Jabber, and IBM (Sametime). With each maker of the IM tool, a variety of features can be offered.

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