ICQ was the first general instant messenger combining presence or list of contacts with the ability to send messages.. After its introduction, a number of variations of instant messaging have arisen in parallel in many places, each with its own protocol. This has led to users running many instant messaging applications simultaneously to be available on several networks. Alternatively they could use a client which supports many protocols, such as Gaim, Trillian or Miranda clients.On single line bulletin board systems (BBS), the system operator (sysop) and the single caller online could typically chat with one another. One's typing appeared in real time for the other person as an instant message equivalent.
Recently, many instant messaging services have begun to offer video conferencing features, Voice Over IP (VoIP) and web conferencing services. Web conferencing services integrate both video conferencing and instant messaging capabilities.
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