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Trillian chat client gets a Mac version, now in alpha

Trillian has enjoyed a nice, long run as one of the most popular multi-protocol IM clients for Windows. It's not just surviving, though, it's thriving and expanding to new platforms. I tested out the very nice iPhone version recently, and now there's finally Trillian for Mac! It's not perfect, but keep in mind that it's still in alpha, so I expect a lot of feature additions and improvements in the future.

Okay, it's time to fall back on that classic reviewer trope, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good: Trillian's message style and list style aren't customizable (yet?), but the default style is attractive and easy to read. This might be a matter of taste, but I prefer Trillian's chat bubbles to iChat's. It also includes a couple of neat little preferences that I'd like to see in every chat client. AIM users will understand when I say that the option to hide AOLSystemMsg is a relief, and I also like the ability to automatically accept file transfers from contacts.

The Bad: Lack of customization and Growl alert support means that Trillian still has some work to do before it can knock over the reigning king of Mac chat clients, Adium. I'm taking the bare-bones features with a grain of salt because - and I can't emphasize this enough - we're talking about an alpha version here.

The Ugly: Alert sounds. They're not the worst alert sounds I've ever heard, but I couldn't find a preference to change them or turn them off. It's not just new message alerts, either, it's buddy on/off, message sent, and pretty much anything else. This doesn't make Trillian very café or library friendly, and it might make the people you live with want to kill you. I'm sure this will change before version 1.0 officially comes out.

Trillian for Mac was at the top of my wish list 10 years ago, but competitors like Adium and iChat filled the gap, and they've spent years refining their products. I'm not saying Trillian can't catch up; it's off to a good start, and a popular brand name will help. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be a while before it's ready for prime time.

Tags: AIM, alpha, chat, google talk, GoogleTalk, IM, mac, os x, OsX, trillian, trillianastra