APPS & BOTS
For some of us, the bright flower icon and its trademark uh-oh and knocking notifications were the beginning of chat-based interactions in our lives. That was twenty years ago. For our younger readers who have no clue what this is, ICQ could be described as the ancestor of Whatsapp in a time of — only — desktop computers.
Released in 1996 by four Israeli students, ICQ was a simple text message exchange platform. Users were looked up by numbers; you could see other peoples IP and TCP along with status updates. In the early times of internet dial-up access, the 1.3 million users that went online on the application were a massive audience. As its popularity increased by the million every month after 1998, many other features were available through ICQ such as e-mail sending, user search and contact list groups.
After many more changes and updates, desktop clients, mobile versions and two acquisitions later (AOL and Mail.Ru), ICQ is still around boasting pretty useful new developments. The new version of the app provides amazing improvements such as end-to-end encryption, as well as video and voice calls. Mask overlays and neural networks to process photos into styles are also featured.
Stickers, emojis, unlimited free messages and SMS (if your friends don’t use ICQ, the message is delivered as a free SMS) are all part of the mobile come back of an old chat veteran. It is available for iOS, Android, PC, Mac and Linux, so there is no excuse not to give it a try. This instant messenger can be run along with other services such as Gmail or Facebook. One of the best parts about it is that it won’t run your battery dry, ICQ can run in background mode which is a clear advantage over other messenger services.