With the announcement that AOL Instant Messenger, better known simply as AIM, is shutting down after 20 years, millions of current users are left with a choice: where to turn for their instant messaging in the future? The question isn’t quite as simple as it sounds though, as users weigh the numerous different messenger options on the market. Some users will want to simply replace AIM with something equivalent, while others will want to try out something different, perhaps even better in a way, than AIM.
To help with this decision it’s important to look at some potential approaches. Whether a user is ready to upgrade and expand their messaging, looking for more of the same AIM experience, or searching for a more secure option, there are messenger programs on the market that can be the right fit. Of course the options below aren’t comprehensive, and users are welcome to search for more, but hopefully, these guidelines will help in the decision-making process.
Keeping it Simple
Some users will certainly be looking to maintain a higher level of continuity with their AIM profiles, and searching for a replacement that is somewhat similar to AIM, i.e. heavily focused on the desktop messaging aspect. Pidgin provides a simple messaging program that allows users to connect to multiple chat platforms at once. While Pidgin doesn’t support every chat program, AIM and many other similar programs are included. Pidgin is free and ad-free, so users can try it out without any obligations.
More Features and Functionality
For those looking for a more feature-rich experience, whether for individual or business use, then Brosix Instant Messenger is a great choice. Brosix is an instant messenger which specializes in private business networks but is also available for personal use.
The program is rich in features geared towards increasing collaboration and communication among team members, such as Virtual Whiteboards, Video and Audio calls, and Screen Sharing, and it’s all wrapped up in an intuitive and user-friendly interface. This makes it a great option for AIM users looking for a program for their business communications.
Focus on Mobile
AIM struggled to adapt to the new emphasis on mobile messaging, one of the reasons for its fall from relevance. Users looking to switch to a program with a strong mobile element should consider the market leader WhatsApp. The program has over a billion users worldwide, so odds are many of AIM users’ friends and family are already on the app. With its introduction in recent years of web and desktop based clients, WhatsApp can also replace much of the functionality of AIM that so many found appealing in the past.
AIM struggled with providing a secure messaging experience until the very end. With several prevalent risks, including vulnerability to external incursions and a lack of end to end data encryption, many users have already decided to make the switch to one of the more secure options on the market. For those who haven’t done so yet, but would like to, Signal is a good choice. The program provides end to end encryption on all calls and messages, so users can message freely without worrying about their communications being intercepted.
As these four guidelines and options demonstrate, there are a wide range of alternatives to AIM to try out. Whether users are looking to maintain as much similarity to their beloved AIM, or are looking for something with more features, security or functionality, there are plenty of options for them. It’s all about knowing what you want from your messenger, and where to look for it.
In order to make the most informed choice, it’s important for users to reflect on what it is they found so appealing in AIM. Was it the simple interface? The fact that it provided a solid basic chatting experience? Or perhaps it was a sense of nostalgia for the early days when Instant Messaging took off? Whatever the answer the fact remains that AIM will cease operating on December 15th, and it’s time to look ahead keeping in mind what users enjoyed about AIM as they make their messenger choice going forward.