Monday, June 3, 2024

The End of ICQ

ICQ (via Hacker News):

ICQ will stop working from June 26

You can chat with friends in VK Messenger, and with colleagues in VK WorkSpace

Wes Davis:

ICQ was started in 1996 by Israeli company Mirabilis, which AOL bought in 1998. ICQ grew to 100 million registered users at one point, at least according to a 2001 release from Time Warner, which had combined with AOL in a famously doomed merger. AOL sold the service to Digital Sky Technologies, the firm that owned VK, then known as, in 2010.

Via Mark Christian:

ICQ really was something special to me. I was absolutely glued to it for most of 1998 in particular, although I used it for years and years. I made some great friends on there[…] ICQ was the first social media platform I ever made a home on, and the uh-oh! notification sound will be etched in my mind forever. It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a quarter of a century since I was using it all day long; it’s even harder to believe that I’m still talking to some of those internet friends on a regular basis.

John Gruber:

Pre-mobile, “instant messaging” had a surprising number of popular platforms.


They all worked more or less the same way, and using any of these protocols was a lot like messaging today with iMessage, WhatsApp, or Signal. But there was one big difference: with the old “instant” messengers, you were only available while your computer was online. And even then, you could set your “status” — green for “sure, hit me up, I’m free”, and red for “I’m online, but don’t bother me right now”. And if you quit your messaging client or, you know, closed your laptop, poof, you were offline and unavailable.

If you wanted to contact someone asynchronously, you sent them an email. If you wanted to chat with messaging, you both needed to be online simultaneously.

The other key difference was that there used to be clients like iChat and Adium that worked with more than one service. It felt like you had some control and could use these services on your own terms. Now everything is all locked together. The only iMessage client is Apple’s. You can only use it on Apple’s platforms. And even then you can only log into one account at a time.


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