Chatting may be the single most popular activity on the Net, outside of E-mail. Below we list a roundup of the Web's best and most popular free chat and instant messaging programs. We also include some of the more cutting-edge programs that allow you to assume the form of an avatar and roam around a three-dimensional "virtual reality" world, chatting with others. And we haven't left out Webmasters, either. We also list many of the top free services that allow you to easily set up your own chat room on your Web site. We review additional similar programs in TheFreeSite.com's Webmaster Freebies section.
Here, you can get a free, customized chat room for your Web site. FreeJavaChat.com offers Java-based chat rooms that include a feature-rich IRC-compliant Web interface. A big plus for this service is that it displays no ads.
A fun freeware chat program that is easy to use. MagChat lets you swap audio clips and files with other users and includes lots of features, such as displaying news headlines and stock quotes. (For Windows).
Are you tired of having an instant messaging program that always seems to be incompatible with the ones your friends use? Trillian Basic is an outstanding freeware program that allows you to access any of the Web's five major instant-messaging services: AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and IRC. This new version adds useful features such as 128-bit encryption and group chat. It's free for non-commercial use. (For Windows).
A must-have instant messaging and chat program from Israel that ranks as one of the Web's most useful freeware programs. ICQ's features could fill a book but the most important innovation it offers is "awareness" (the ability to determine whether other people are online at a given moment). Available for Windows and Mac.
This is a freeware browser that lets you access AlphaWorld, a unique, 3D virtual community populated by real people. The Active Worlds universe boasts thousands of users who you can chat with. You can explore over 100 worlds in real-time, high-color graphics. You can even own land and create buildings on your property, from a simple house to an elaborate palace (a process that is quite easy). (Available for Windows, Mac and Linux).
This popular program, once available only to AOL users, is now available to the entire online community. It offers many cool features. It allows you to see who's currently online (like ICQ) and lets you send quick and private instant messages, as well as pictures. You can also communicate via voice, (provided you have a microphone and speakers). (Available for both Windows and Macs).
This freeware program lets you create your own Instant Messenger community. With IntraMessenger, companies, communities and other groups can create and control their own network of instant collaborative messengers. It's free for personal and commercial use.