About ICQ

    Last year, the Mail.ru Group holding (not to be confused with the Mail.ru mail service) bought a number of large projects, among which was the notorious ICQ, aka ICQ. The other day, with a number of colleagues, I managed to visit the homeland of the legendary “oh-oh” - in the very near future, wait for a review of their Israeli office. In the meantime, some information from a conversation with the ICQ project management.

    Now, as you know, the corporation has two IM clients that are simultaneously walking at the same time - it is the Mail.ru Agent and, in fact, ICQ. It is not clear why, but the company does not plan to suspend any of them - both messengers will develop. Maybe there will be some kind of integration between them - time will tell, but for now let's talk about “ICQ”.

    Contrary to popular opinion (especially in the IT environment), the “patient” has not died, but is very much alive, which has a lot of evidence - like in the old days, millions of users around the world use it. It’s not the first day that Jabber and Skype have been trying to take the palm, but alas, there is still nothing at all. It was believed that twitter will save humanity, but even for a long time it will not be able to supplant or replace the good old “ICQ”. By the way, the traffic of IM networks in 2011 reached 46 billion messages per day, and Twitter stably lies already at 3 billion. However, these are completely different things and it is wrong to compare them.

    Okay. Tell me what is ICQ? No, well, I'm not talking about “I seek you,” of course. Protocol? But not OSCAR? Customer? More versions? Sorry, if anyone was hit by such an “unexpected” question, but as practice shows, many people have long been misunderstood the understanding of the term ICQ as such. Not to mention such an intimate thing as an official client :) But don’t think that I’m going to persuade you all into something and plant them back on the “flower”.

    I see the reason for “dislike of ICQ” as follows: once the official client was really creepy - it is logical that alternative clients climbed like mushrooms after the rain. The interface is beautiful in one, the plug-in car in the other, the something else in the third - I think everyone remembers the numerous tug-of-war, saying “go to Miranda”, “go here or here, but not there,” and so on. In general, the people were divided into heaps and a certain enthusiast (or a group of enthusiasts) developed each heap, so all the functionality was transferred to their shoulders.

    On the one hand, ICQ itself is to blame (although alternatives always appear sooner or later, even if a very high-quality product was originally released), but which of us does not make mistakes. On the other hand, now they are doing everything possible to solve this problem - if they didn’t lick their own client, they obviously put it in order and continue to improve it. But ... out of habit, everyone continues to close their eyes to him, because the alternative choice has already done its job, has generated a persistent stereotype. Agree, now you are very reluctant to climb to watch the official client, if you climb at all;)

    And he, by the way, is even developing - for example, this year the Mac version appeared, albeit a little off the guidelines. Multilogin and multiprotocol also already exist, in early 2012 there will be a long-awaited history synchronization. Simply put - the current “ICQ” is already not the same ICQ that we used the year so in 2003 and by which we are still judging. Now ICQ is not only “text messages with emoticons”, but also photos, videos, audio, group chats, SMS and much, much more. And if all this is not implemented in any RnQ, QIP, Trillian or Pidgin, this does not mean that there are no such functions. It’s just that not every enthusiast developer of a third-party client can make support for the necessary functions, and if he can, it’s not at all a fact that he wants to. He does not owe anything to anyone.

    Now is the time to smash one more stereotype. It turns out that the company has not been struggling with alternative customers for several years now - the whole “struggle” lasted from July 1, 2008 to February 2009. Then there were other people behind the wheel, but from now on no one will put sticks into wheels for alternative customers. Therefore, if the creators of a client write “it doesn’t work for us, this ICQ messed up our whole life” - do not believe it.

    And the last, since they started talking. ICQ has an updated version of the license agreement, which, according to the creators, should satisfy the majority of third-party developers who conduct a “normal” business (rather than trying, for example, to criminalize the lives of their users in any way - in this case we are talking about spammers, number sellers and other villains). “Selling the soul”, developers will be able not only to “keep toned” their offspring, but also receive informational support from the company itself. But, unfortunately, the majority of third-party clients have not signed this agreement, therefore we have what we have.

    At the moment, ICQ exists on almost all mobile platforms: in the glamorous iOS, in the gaining momentum of Android (for these two platforms, an updated version of the client came out just the other day), in the imposing Blackberry , in a lively, but losing groundSymbian , in the cheerful cheerleader of Windows Mobile . There is also a Java application, and a version of Web-ICQ is provided for completely helpless phones (which have at least a wacky browser) . For the sake of completeness, what’s missing is a living dead man named MeeGo , but for this platform a client is not yet planned.

    Have you forgotten someone else? No, it's just the right time for the little Hubrainside: by the end of the year, the company plans to release customers for two more mobile operating systems, namely Windows Phone 7 and Samsung Bada .

    As you can see, if you want to get in touch, you can almost from the handset from the intercom and this, it is worth recognizing, is a very fat plus. In general, mobile Internet is now a priority - according to forecasts, it will catch up with PC traffic by 2014-2015. So there is nothing surprising in the fact that customers appeared under almost all platforms and “gained independence”.

    There is another embodiment of ICQ in our sinful world - I'm talking about a little-known thing called ICQ-on-site- as you might guess, this is ICQ, built directly into the site. It is one thing to simply indicate the ICQ number on the page, it is quite another to provide the visitor with the opportunity to immediately send a message without unnecessary gestures. A useful thing, for example, for online stores - allows you to increase the conversion of ads to real contacts. By the way, web-ICQ as an application is already on some social networks.

    By the way, a few years ago, ICQ mobile clients were a kind of “temporary replacement” for the stationary version - so that you could get in touch at a time when you are not at the computer. Modern mobile clients have retained this opportunity, but in general they have become more independent - they no longer need a desktop, you can always register and start chatting directly from your phone. Before heaps, there is integration with the phone’s address book, and the ICQ number itself can be linked to the phone number.

    How then is this all different from the same WhatsApp or iMessage? At least - the presence of a desktop version. Here you can communicate as you like and from anywhere. And with anyone - the audience is much wider, and the list of interlocutors is not limited to just the phone’s address book.


    Although I admit honestly: WhatsApp and iMessage I like that they do not create internal “discomfort” - because some important program is running on the phone and it may accidentally crash. A sort of phobia is to put the phone in your pocket and after an hour detect the lack of a connection to the server and a few messages from people who are already offline. Now you don’t even need to lazily flip through the list of online contacts - just write a message to the right person and it will certainly come. However, as practice has shown, the new “mobile ICQ” can do this quite well.

    At the end of the meeting, I asked to talk about some unusual fakap or something funny from the life of ICQ. It turned out that in Hong Kong there was a relatively recent case when one popular blogger created a publication, saying, “let's put ICQ in the old days, chat, ponostalgic” - this call was not just supported “with a bang”, but literally scattered like a virus. The result was hundreds of thousands of official client downloads and registrations, which resulted in a considerable load and attracted attention in the company.

    So, maybe this ... we’ll also ponostalgize, show, so to speak, the Habraeffect? Well, or am I no longer a popular blogger? ;)

    Have a nice day!

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