Chat-server is a very popular computer program for online conferencing. A chat-server can also consider as Instant Messaging Server, while the client program can mainly consist of two types of user interfaces, chat-room interface and Instant Messenger interfaces. The Instant Messenger allows it’s users to view a listing of people with whom they frequently communicate, determine if these people are currently online and available, and send or receive messages instantly [SMC]. In the beginning, instant messaging or chat-server program gained popularity with home users and mainly used for social interaction only. But soon realized that the technology is quite suitable for corporate and professional communications. Bonnie Nardi and Steve Whittaker of AT&T Bell Laboratories, and a student at the University of California at Irvine, Erin Bradner, outlined the usefulness of instant messaging as a mechanism to enhance workplace collaboration in their paper, Interaction and Outer-action: Instant Messaging in Action, [DRC-PAS]
Instant Messenger (IM) generally offers a presence awareness feature [Wik], indicating whether people on one's list of contacts are currently online and available to chat. The contact list is well known as a 'Buddy List'. The buddy list can differentiate, online and offline contact people in a manner that the person can make live chatting with the online peoples, at any time and obviously from anywhere without joining in a chat-room. The most common difference between a chat-room and a messenger is that messenger is more private than chat-room. A chat-room is known as a public chatting place where identity of all clients are shown without considering any privacy, though one-to-one messaging also possible in the chat-room like Instant Messenger(IM). The main achievement of a chat-room is that clients can send a message to the entire users of the room at once. Most of the popular messaging service providers consider chat-room as an integral part of their instant messaging application. A chat-room also helps a client to increase its buddy list of IM by adding a new person as a friend who was really unknown before. Although, many popular Instant Messenger enable their clients to send files and photos to others while voice transfer is a common feature, though still text based messaging is more popular, particularly in those countries where optical fibre and bandwidth internet connections is not yet appeared, consequently low bandwidth.
The popularity of Instant Messenger is increasing dramatically compared to other internet-based services. According to the recent research report of IMlogic Threat Center [ITC], there are approximately 300 million consumer and enterprise messenger users in 2005, worldwide. The report also focuses that popular service providers like, AOL, MSN and Yahoo Messenger, each report over 1 billion messages sent per day and the traffic is expected to exceed e-mail traffic by the end of 2006. Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted a survey on American teens, which was published in summer 2001, shows that 74% of online teens use IM (Instant Messenger) while 55% of them visit a public chat-room [PIP01].
Another report was published by the same research group on September 2004, titled as How Americans use instant messaging[PIP04], discovered that over 42% of online adults use chat services and 53 million adult trade instant messages while 11 million American use instant messaging at work and 40% of those improved team work. The most recent survey report of ‘Pew Internet & American Life Project’ on Teens and Technology (27, July, 2005) [PIP05] depicts interesting trend of teens towards the use of technology, the result says that about 16 million teens use instant messaging up from close to 13 million in year 2000. This means that the messaging service providers got 3 million new teen users within 5 years in America only.
There are many popular service providers providing IM bstill they are not completely web-based. For example, to use the Instant Messenger services, clients have to download the messenger program and install it on their own machines before they can send instant message, in many cases. Although, web messenger is not rare and introduced recently but their functionalities are very limited. Full flexible web messengers are necessary to get into the revolutionary era of web-based instant messenger.
[DRC-PAS] "Interaction and Outeraction: Instant Messaging in Action,"
by Nardi, Bonnie A., Whittaker, Steve, Bradner, Erin,
LITERATURE REVIEW by Dr.Richard Furata & Partik S. Dave
[SMC]Beyond e-mail: using the Internet for conferencing
by Scott McAdams , OMA Public Affairs and Communications Department
[Wik] Wikipedia article "Instant messenger", The leading user-contributed encyclopaedia
[PIP01] Teenage life online, ERELEASE AT 6:00 P.M. (EASTERN), JUNE 20, 2001
PEW AMERICAN & INTERNET LIFE PROJECT. 1100 C. ONNECTICUT. A. VENUE. , NW – S. UITE. 710 W. ASHINGTON. , DC 20036. 202-296-0019
Washington, D.C. 20036, 202-296-0019, http://www.pewinternet.org/
[PIP04] How American use Instant Messaging(1st September,2004)
[PIP05] Teens and Technology Pew Internet & American Life Project Report
(27th July,2005) www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/133/report_display.asp
IMlogic Treat Center, IMlogic.Inc, Q1 2005 IM Security Threat Report