Every major Internet-based company seems to be trying to the same thing. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL—everybody is in a race to be your online content hub. Each company has their own mail service, their own news center, their own shopping portal ... and the result is that internet users accumulate accounts, signing up for the latest and greatest service only to move on once another company releases something better. I talk to friends and acquaintances online, but managing three different online communication accounts just wasn't fun. You can imagine the traditional comically inept infomercial actor, exasperatedly searching for Facebook on my row of browser tabs to use their chat service and accidentally closing other important ones, hunting for the Google Talk icon in my quick launch bar and accidentally deleting the contents of my hard drive ...
“If only there was a better way!”
Guess what, readers—for about seven months, I've been using a desktop-based instant messaging client called Pidgin, which has support for every popular chat program, and some you probably haven't even heard of. Desktop instant messaging clients are a good way to consolidate unwieldy lists of accounts across major service providers into a single location. What finally drove me to house all my accounts using Pidgin was its native support for Facebook chat—instructions are available directly from Facebook, not only for Pidgin but for a host of other chat programs. While this allows you to always be available to converse with friends, it does have a drawback— a friend messaged me once to ask why I was always using Facebook, because always being logged into Facebook Chat through Pidgin makes me appear to always be online.
Pidgin is also customizable through extensions, much like popular web browsers Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, allowing users to extend the software's functionality. Pidgin is free and open source, and makes the wild world of online communication a lot simpler.