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Instant messaging IMform of text-based communication in which two persons participate in a single conversation over their computers or mobile devices within an Internet -based chatroom. In its simplest form, instant messaging IM seeks to accomplish two goals: monitoring presence for the purpose of sending presence-based alerts to users in the chatroom and messaging.
The software relies on a central server or servers to monitor presence. The software establishes a direct connection between users so they can talk to each other synchronously, in real time. IM has a long history, but it has only been in the late s that IM applications have come to the forefront, due to ongoing battles between commercial ventures engaged in its development. CTSS was housed in a large mainframe. Users connected to the mainframe through remote dial-up terminals to send messages back and forth to one another and share files. CTSS soon grew beyond MIT, allowing several hundred users from a of colleges to converse with one another bythereby adopting modern IM-like qualities.
IM was invented in as a chat function on a government computer network.
Its original purpose was to help exchange information which would aid the U. Party Line users all had to log on to the same computer over phone lines and read the text of the chats on Teletype units. During the s, the first public chat software emerged. IM had been a part of the AOL browser as early asin the form of lists of acquaintances that let AOL customers know when their friends, relatives, or other acquaintances who also used AOL were online. AIM flourished, and, as the popularity of the Internet grew, so did the demand for software systems that allowed real-time conversation.
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Give Feedback. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires. External Websites. By Gary W. Larson View Edit History. Show more. Full Article. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Internet: Instant broadcast communication. Indeed, IM became a particular problem in classrooms, with students often surreptitiously exchanging notes via wireless communication devices.
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