New slim, trim ICQ variants

If size matters, someone forgot to tell America Online’s ICQ instant messaging division. They have released ICQ Lite, a condensed version of AOL’s popular IM program with uncharacteristically few features.

At just 1.7MB, ICQ Lite has only 14 core features, a fraction of the 40 functions in the flagship ICQ 2002. Microsoft and Yahoo, in comparison, have been fattening their instant messenger clients with multimedia and enhanced communications add-ons upon each new release.

The short list of ICQ Lite’s just-the-basics features includes same-time text messaging, the ability to send and receive text messages on mobile phones, file transfer functions, and access to ICQ’s user directory for finding people of like interests. In addition, the program saps less of your system memory when it runs.

Also now available is the ICQ2Go! beta. Developed as a Java-applet, no downloads are needed as the software runs in a Web browser — making it work across any PC, Mac or UNIX system with the latest Java updates. Skinning, conversation history and file sharing aren’t included at this stage, but contact lists can be stored and accessed using the ICQ network servers. No pop-up ads, no downloads and no installation — who said you can’t get away with chatting while in class or at work?

- with Danny Allen

Price: Free URL: http://lite.icq.com

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Tom Spring

PC World
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