imo.im – A Multi-Client Web Based IM Service

I am what you could call an instant message junkie. Between Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Blackberry messengers, I am always chatting with someone. In some cases Instant messaging from a mobile device just won’t cut it. What would happen if you were at a friend’s house and you need to get a hold of someone on Skype and your buddy doesn’t have it installed?

This is where imo.im can help. Imo.im is a web based instant messaging application that lets you log into all of the major IM services including Skype and Facebook. Having access to some of these apps in an all-in-one web app is a damn good idea; I’m surprised these kind of web based apps aren’t more popular.

There are three ways to use this service:

1. Browser

If you are constantly at your computer with your browser open, you can opt to use imo.im from the site. It has no OS dependencies because it is web based. As long as you can access the web, you can IM until your heart is content.

imo.im-browser

2. Pop-out

If you prefer to, there is an option to IM via a pop out window. This option will still require you to have your browser open. Also, make sure the your pop up blocker lets it “pop out”.

imo.im-popout

3. Desktop App

The third option is a downloadable desktop application for Windows computers. Aside from not needing to have a browser running, there is no difference between the web and desktop version. Even though it is a downloaded application, it is pretty much just like the browser pop out.

imo.im-desktop

Video

Depending on the IM service you choose to log into, you can access some of the features usually associated with their individual desktop application. For example, with Yahoo IM there is an option for video chat when I use the desktop app on my Mac. If I am using Adium, I lose this option. By logging onto the imo.im site, I  regain the use of video. If you are on a computer equipped with a webcam, you can use the video chat feature offered by some IM services. If you are out running errands and remember you have a 2:30 Skype video conference, you could pop into a Best Buy and use one of the demo computers. It would be really unprofessional of you, but you could do it if you had to.

Audio

The same is true with voice chat. Like webcams, most computers have a microphone of some kind or at the very least, an option to plug one in. If you are doing other things on the web and simply don’t want to type, you can utilize imo.im to speak your mind via services like Skype hands free.

Signing In

To make your signing in easier, imo.im lets you link the accounts you use the most together for ease of logging in. All this really does is allow one click sign in for all of the accounts you have linked.

imo.im-linkaccounts

Other Goodies – Picture Sharing

Imo.im has a photo sharing program. To share, simply email the photo to photos@imo.im from the email address you registered; that’s it. You have 2GB of space to store your photographic masterpieces.

Whiteboard

The whiteboard is a basic collaboration tool. It is almost like a collaborative Microsoft Paint. You can type, use the pre-made shapes and even doodle or write in the open area. I could see this being handy for an impromptu brainstorming session.

Overall, the basics of this web based service are pretty similar to many of the desktop apps available Adium, Trillium and Digsby. The biggest difference over the desktop counterparts is being able to access it from any computer with an internet connection. Great if you are traveling sans laptop and have to use the hotel lobby computer in a pinch.

What other web based IM services are available?