Remember ICQ? Most people reply back to me saying “Wasn’t that some chat program?” with a vague look in their eyes. Usually followed up by the statement “I think I used it at one point a long time ago…” Well I think we are now looking to the extinction of yet another chat application. (Please note the working “think”, thereby implying that these are my own conclusions drawn on my own speculations and have no facts nor proved theorem’s behind it ) Sorry guys I had to drop that in after following a thread on a blog I frequent which sparked up fierce commentary war on having proof of what you say on your blog.
This time I see the grim reaper shadowing over Microsoft’s MSN messenger. Sometime down the road our children or even the younger generation of internet savvy users immersed in video rich Skype like, and much more versatile faster sleeker chat applications in the likes of google talk which also integrates some pretty good quality voice chat will look back on MSN messenger and say “ isn’t that some old fashioned chat program that your generation used?” Scary thought but it’s going to happen. Sooner or later.
To be able to validate my thoughts on why I think MSN messenger is a dying fad, let’s look at what made it as popular as it is now. Hotmail, the first (correct me if I’m wrong) free web based email offered to the public. My first email address. Ohh wow, I can log into msn messenger with my hotmail address? Cool! Everyone who had a hotmail address could now chat with each other on msn. Sweet. Then they introduced Microsoft Passport which allowed you to register your non hotmail address with Microsoft and voila! You can now use MSN messenger with your non MSN email address. A surefire recipe for success. So what went wrong? What makes me think that MSN messenger is on its death bed?
The client became bulky, slow, crashed often enough (at least for me and for people I know who uses it). As more and more features were added it just got bigger and bigger. MSN messenger live, (the big release with offline messaging capability); BIG DEAL, yahoo and ICQ have had offline messaging for donkeys ages. Then again there is the actual coding, pretty sloppy on the part of MSN Live coders. Ever noticed those really ugly “sqmdata00.sqm” named files in your C drive root? Yup, msn data files. WHY COULD’NT THEY STORE IT IN THE PROGRAM FOLDER? It really makes my well organized hard-drive very ungainly having these files right out there in the open!
Recently I’ve had loads of problems sending messages to some of my contacts. A few of them compained that they were not able to receive anyones messages unless they initiated the conversation. Today I received complains from my contacts that their messages to me on msn was not coming though.
Then there is the endless issues with sighing in. How many times have you been unable to log in due to technical difficulties!!! Way to many times to be comfortable.
That being said, let’s look at the alternatives available to us. How many people have got GMail accounts? Clean, fast, very usable, over 2 1/2 gigs of space and increasing. Fancy usefull features every few weeks. I know I still keep my hotmail account around only to log into MSN messenger. With Google talk being integrated into the Gmail interface it’s so much easier to chat on that. Almost everyone I know have Gmail accounts, and a lot of them have started using that to chat instead of MSN. You can chat with your contacts from any web browser and have your chat logs still saved for future reference and accessable from anywhere.
On the other side of the coin we have applications like Skype which I love. Given that MSN has voice and video, the quality of the voice and video in Skype as well as the voice in Google talk is far superior in my opinion.
Well that’s just my two cents worth on the matter. I’m pretty sure that a fair number of you readers will agree with me on this , well at least I hope so.