Instan-T: Voice, video and text chat client for Google, AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!
Your co-workers use MSN Messenger, your family is partial to AOL Instant Messenger, and your friends use Google Talk. There are plenty of utilities that let you keep in touch with all of your contacts regardless of the IM platform they're using. But while we love Digsby, Trillian, Pidgin, and Adium most of the time, there are a few features missing from those apps:
- Support for voice and video chats
- The ability to invite friends from different IM networks into a single chat room
And that's where Instan-T comes in. This multi-protocol chat client for Windows supports AOL, Google, Yahoo!, and MSN Messengers. It also supports voice and video chat across each network, although we've found that feature to be a bit finnicky. When we tested out a voice chat, we were able to the person speaking on the other end, but she couldn't hear us. We'll chalk that up to a hardware problem.
Probably the most interesting thing about Instan-T is that it lets you set up a chat room that you can invite contacts from any service to participate in. Just click on a contact name and select multi-person chat. They'll receive an invitation with a URL to click on that will open up a Flash-based chat room, which also features voice and video support.
We'll be honest. The Instan-T interface is a little cluttered and confusing when compared with other multi-protocol chat clients. But the application definitely shows promise. If you want to try the service without downloading and installing anything, you Instan-T also has a Meebo-like web based instant messenger. The web client supports Internet Explorer and Firefox, which means you should be able to access the service whether you're using Windows, Linux or OS X.