March 25, 2009 |
I have already written here about the fact that online applications somehow seem to push even more desktop applications into use than we used to have instead of eliminating use of various desktop applications they substitute. While we initially began with talking about moving totally online where we would never need a desktop application again at all, many of us now have multiple applications installed on our desktops with their only purpose being connecting our desktops better to our online presences.
My own combination includes Twhirl for Twitter and FriendFeed, Flickr Uploadr, Plaxo and LinkedIn toolbars for Outlook, Last.fm scrobbler and probably something else I am not even aware of. And I am quite certain many of you have something very similar on your desktops with plenty of applications that are intended to help you better connect to what you are usually supposed to connect to via your browser.
I am usually pretty happy to try various new services and download their desktop clients if such applications prove to be truly useful for me. And since I only work on one notebook all the time, a multitude of things installed on my desktop is quite fine and does not contradict the principle of using an online application to be able to access this application from anywhere you are on the go. After all, when you stick to one notebook for all your tasks, it does not hurt having those nifty shortcuts for all the web applications you access frequently.
But at the same time there’s one field where I stubbornly stick to desktop-only – and the field is IM. Instant messaging for me is divided between Skype and Miranda where I have all my protocols connected in one nice multi-tab interface. And while I am quite aware of the level of service offered by various multi-protocol web-based IM clients, I only used one of them (and the best-known one at that), Meebo, one time in my life when I happened to be out of internet connection on a business trip and had to use a computer in the hotel to have a few IM conversations.
Well, of course I have played with Meebo a few times since then as the company frequently comes up with new features that deserve testing and coverage here so I open the browser and point it to Meebo site every now and then – without actually considering migrating at all. And for me the thing that prevented me from even considering migrating to the online environment for my online conversations was exactly that – absence of desktop client.
Today this is about to change and next time my Miranda installation fails to work for some reason I think I know where I will go looking for an alternative solution to use for multi-protocol IM conversations – and this will be Meebo. So the team has announced a new desktop application for Meebo (Windows-only for now as it frequently happens) that will connect your computer to your online Meebo experience much better than it currently is.
The client will not emulate Meebo environment on your computer and will not serve as an actual alternative to your current IM client: what it does is helping you connect to the online client in a more efficient way right from your desktop. The features of the new Meebo desktop client include visual notifications of new messages in the taskbar even when Meebo is not opened in your browser, logging in to Meebo when the computer starts up and opening Meebo session in a browser with a single click.
You can choose if you want Meebo Notifier to be launched at Windows startup and also if you want to be notified of new messages (with previews shown in pop-ups) and of friends coming online or going offline. Of course it is a pretty limited application with only basic features and it is quite understandable – it is about notifications, not about actual IM client but for anyone who is already willing to give it a try, you can download it here.
I for one like this step very much as it finally makes the fully-online experience of Meebo more usable for those users (like me) who still stick to desktop for instant messaging. And while I don’t think I am already migrating from my full-functional clients, this looks like a wise move for Meebo combining the online experience with offline and serving everyone better as a result.