We have another web based IM service that has hit the alpha stage. This service is called imo.im. This service comes to us courtesy of ten of the first Google employees and is based in Palo Alto, California. In a previous article I reviewed a mobile app for one of my favorite Web based IM services – meebo. Imo.im is a serious competitor. Along with all of the major IM services (gchat, yahoo, AIM, jabber, etc), this service also has Skype integrated in the service. This feature increases the value of this service tremendously. A bonus is that there is no download needed to use skype. Just plug in your username and password and talk away. Text Chat AND Video chat are available from within this app. It took me a little while to get the video chat working from within Firefox, but it ended up being very smooth and responsive.
Imo.im also includes two different but very functional features, white board and photos. The whiteboard is your usual whiteboard where you can draw on the board, take notes and insert designs, with a link that can be shared with friends via IM or email. Photos are also now a synch to share with friends using imo.im’s built in photo uploader with 2gb’s of free storage and ability to see your other friends photo feed if they also use imo.im. Those are two relevant features compared to some games and videos included on other web based IM services.
Customer service is very responsive as well as they helped me with a few customization issues I ran into early in my use of the service. I am still waiting for the update when I can adjust the notification tone to make it deeper and richer instead of the “chirping bird” tone that is now standard. The are approximately 56 different languages you can use on this service and they also have saved chat history as long as you login with the same services each time. A unique feature is that you only need to log in with one of your screen names (AIM for example) and it will remember the other screen names you have attached to the service. Facebook logging in is a little erratic, but that is the case with almost every web based IM service so we will not fault Imo.im with that issue. There is also a “Search Chat History” service that has been implemented and searches your chat logs very quickly and efficiently. This is a valuable tool to relook at links sent to you and previous conversations.
Looking ahead, I hope that Imo.im allows you to customize the landing page if you like along with the notification sounds. These are the only two areas I would like to see some improvement. Otherwise, I am sold. I will use this service especially when heavy usage of skype is needed. There is a mobile app for the iPhone available too. We are still waiting to hear details of an Android and Blackberry app. Will you be using Imo.im?