If you are one of the few people that still use msn/windows/live messenger to any degree, you likely have noticed that Microsoft made the decision to replace their corner stone chat client with Skype this Monday April 8.
Some of us (or at least just me) have been dreading this day where unfortunately for those of us who use Messenger have to face the understandable fact that it is not good business for Microsoft to provide a free Instant Messaging service that involves some of the most skilled WPF development, deep system integration, and wide array of functionality only to result in an underused and unpopular product.
Skype entrusted as Messenger's replacement, on the other hand is a great business for Microsoft. Skype is a product that is popularly known for allowing people to make voice and video calls for free over the internet. The software became so popular that the name 'Skype' itself turned into a verb for the most part, allowing Microsoft to benefit from it's popularity when offering it packaged with it's other products and services (particularly Windows 8 and Windows phone 8). As well, Skype's fluent way to "pay" to make affordable VOIP calls allows Microsoft to further benefit by having a value added service also be a source of income.
Apparently Skype fails at managing linked accounts… Which made this “upgrade” useless
Skype from a consumer perspective is a great piece of communication software and offers a surprisingly reliable service with stunning cross platform functionality. Paying customers are privileged to great customer support and the easy to connect, call to landline, or switch to video calling makes Skype the go to app for internet calling.
What it is not the go to app for is Instant Messaging. And for those of you facing the issue of upgrading (technically downgrading) forcibly or otherwise may be coming to the realization that Skype as an instant messaging client significantly lacks the bells and whistles Windows Live Messenger had.
Notice how Skype for Windows 8 looks much better… and focuses on video calling as opposed to an awkward chat experience.
Some of the Things Messenger had, that Skype doesn't:
- Control remote logins
- Seamless non cluttered integration to Facebook (And other social networks)
- Remote desktop, remote assistance built in
- Easy file transfer.
- YouTube video sharing
- Connect to your email
- Social updates
- A good looking interface, easy to understand and use.
- Windows 7 taskbar integration
- Integration with other Windows live services
- Integration features with the taskbar in windows 7
- Significant customization for appearance
- Many more... As it was a very mature program
This interface was much more pleasant than Facebook. You will be missed WLM…
Even though many of the features found in Messenger are found in Skype, it is notable that Skype does not really perform Instant Messaging in a natural fashion. Using the social features or the messaging controls in Skype are particularly not pleasant, they present almost as a hacked in "look what i can do" feature that just clutters the environment and makes you question how to actually message someone. The only platforms Skype looks like a polished product is within Windows phone and Windows 8 – and even there – Skype’s main use is for voice and video calls exclusively. Messaging also suffers from the poor synchronization with servers as the framework of Skype is better structured for live, one on one, communication.
As a result, as an instant messaging client: Skype underperforms.
For Instant messaging, Pidgin is the Best alternative.
There are a variety of alternatives for instant messaging available to Windows. These alternatives fall under two categories: Those that offer their own social network and those that focus on connecting to other social networks.
Alternative Social Networks:
- Facebook (Facebook Messenger)
- AOL (AIM)
- Yahoo (Yahoo Messenger)
- Google Plus (Google Talk)
- ICQ (ICQ 8)
Connecting to Variety of Social Networks:
Why Pidgin is my favourite:
Pidgin itself is an easy to set up program that offers the ability to connect to many networks including AOL, Google Talk, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MySpace, Facebook and Yahoo.
The beauty of this program, the more power user you are, the more features you will unlock. This in my opinion is the way all programs of this nature SHOULD be. Only power users will require powerful instant messaging or social features. But, for the general user... quick download, quick install, quick setup, and message away.
- - no blatant advertising.
- - no pain in the ass notifications taking up 95% of your screen real-estate.
- - no social features that interfere with what it is you do.
- - no excessive setup.
- - no “pro” version. All open-source software.
- - just chat... chat with who, wherever, whenever.
- Just look how simple it is… Right out of the box!
- For those about to chat – Pidgin salutes you,