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Among its many uses and benefits, the Internet has transformed and simplified how people communicate with each other around the globe.In addition to email, instant messaging has played a large role in bringing people together.
Mac users could integrate their address books and Apple Mail in a native app compatible with AIM.
In 1996, Israeli company Mirabilis launched ICQ, a text-based messenger that was the first to really reach a widespread market of online users.
ICQ allowed for multi-user chats, file transfers, a searchable user directory and more.
Some institutions, including MIT and Carnegie Mellon University, still use the service.
The 1980s also saw great interest in the bulletin board system, or BBS — a system that allowed users to use a terminal program to upload and download software and exchange direct messages with others.
AOL acquired Mirabilis and ICQ in 1998, later selling it to Digital Sky Technologies in 2010.
The latest version of ICQ includes Facebook integration, mobile sync and further updates.Like the services before it, AIM allowed users to send messages to each other, and included user profiles, away messages and icons for more engagement.With AIM also came the development of different bots, such as Study Buddy and Smarter Child (which have since been retired), with whom users could interact. Messenger included customized "IMVironments," address book integration and custom status messages. Pidgin, founded as "Gaim" in 1998 as an open-source instant messaging client, allowed users to reach contacts on several operating systems.Multi-user operating systems such as the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS), which was created at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s Computation Center in 1961, allowed up to 30 users to log in at the same time and send messages to each other.The system, which is perhaps closer to what we now think of as email, had hundreds of registered users from MIT and other New England colleges by 1965.A major aspect of the rise of instant messaging in the 1990s was the shorthand language and acronyms that came with it: IM language became so ubiquitous that it's completely common usage today, even in emails and SMS mobile text messaging.