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Chatting online is not a new concept by any means. The ability to type via a terminal program dates to the 1960s, if not earlier, with CompuServe creating the forefront of chat rooms in the late 1970s. As technology advanced, so did the chat rooms. Instead of dialing into a central system, users could log into Internet relay chat and talk to people in the chat rooms.
Then ICQ came along and gave users the ability to talk with who they wanted to directly. No more logging into a mainframe or server, just straight conversation between two users. ICQ was just the first wave of instant messaging programs that would soon flood the market.
Increased access to high speed connections gave more users the ability to switch to video chat, making the web camera a common sight in households. Families can connect from across the country at the press of a button, and for free.
Being able to converse via typing or video has vastly changed how people communicate with one another. Long distance issues are now a thing of the past with the ease of being able to talk online and services like Online Faxing. Once upon a time, people picked up a phone to call. Now it’s a matter of a couple of clicks with a mouse and typing on a keyboard.
The big question now is “what’s next?” What will be the next generation of high-speed communication be? The answer is still off in the future, but somewhere, someone is working on the next big thing for instant messaging.