How did Instant Messaging Evolve

Over a period of time, people have been coming closer day by day globally. It couldn’t happen within a fraction of seconds. It took several decades to step ahead with the mobile penetration and easy outreach of internet connectivity. In this age of globalization, people come and communicate with each other. They now can share their ideas and journey with someone sitting in the far distant country. In this way, IM (Instant messaging) played a vital role to bring people on a single platform.  

IM has been in an evolutionary phase for a long period. It became advanced with the phased manner. Now you can send messages publicly or privately and from ICQ to AIM or from Google Chat to FB Chat. And, the interesting thing is that time taken to deliver the message is not in terms of days or months, but it is an instantaneous process.

Evolution of Instant Messaging

The concept of IM is not new, it dates back to the time of the 1960s, but it became common in early 1990s. In 1961, Multi-user OS (Operating System) like CTSS (Compatible Time-Sharing System) was built that permitted a maximum 30 users to sign in and personalize the messages with each other. In the 1970s, programmers started to operate protocol on peer-to-peer that set up smooth communication with the users of the single system.

During the age of 1970s and 80s, three instant messaging apps emerged that can be considered as the foundation of present-day IM. First one was the peer-to-peer protocol system only. In the time of 1983, Mark Jenks created a system named as Talk for permitting high school students of Washington High School to send the messages to other users along with accessing the first generation digital bulletin board system. Within a short span of time, users in this system emerged unexpectedly throughout the country.

At the time of 1982, 8-bit computer revolutionized the computer world and became the turning point to the instant messaging things. With the help of PETSCII text system, users could deliver the texts with one another in online mode through a modem or Quantum Link service. In 1988, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) opened multi-user groups called channels in which users can send the messages and transfer the files via the mechanism of data transfer. This IRC became vital for sharing the news in the times of the Gulf War.

Emergence of Market for Instant Messaging

In the age of 1990s, American Online (formerly Quantum Link) assisted the instant messaging feature to grow rapidly. In this race, ICQ became the first one, in 1996, to be launched in the market as a text-based messenger. In 1997, AIM (AOL-IM) started its debut and jumped into the industry of instant messaging. In 1998, Yahoo! released Yahoo! Messenger app then Microsoft launched MSN in 1999a and many more. All this led to attracting the tech-savvy.

Till 2000, IM (instant messaging clients) users had to work on multiple instant messaging apps for accessing friends and family in different networking connections. But, Jabber changed the system as it combined the IMs by serving as a single platform to access many IM featured tools at a time. This system was called as multi-protocol IM. Now in this system, you can talk with friends on Yahoo!, AOL-IM, or simultaneously. In the background of rising social media networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, IM has been evolved strongly. This rise also causes the shifting of usage from computer to mobile devices. FB brought its own Facebook Messenger, not allowing the third party to access instant messaging service. In this direction, web-based technology exclusively on computers advanced further. Nowadays, instant messengers have been with new shapes of communications like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), phone calls using internet etc.

David Smith is a Microsoft Office expert and has been working in the technology industry since 2002. As a technical expert, David Smith has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as

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