Pidgin is a free chat client that brings all of your favorite chat networks, like AIM, Google Talk, and even Facebook Chat, together in one place.
In the early days of instant messaging there were only a few chat clients available, so most of us just had to keep one or two windows open to stay connected to all of our “buddies.” Now, there are dozens of different chat networks out there, and everyone has a different preference. Many people subscribe to several chat networks at once, while others select only one and stick with it. Staying connected to all of your friends on all of their favorite chat networks can overwhelm your computer with software and Internet windows.
Pidgin lets you connect to several chat networks at once, so you can talk to your best friend on Yahoo, your co-workers on Sametime, and your Mom on MSN, all with only one chat client. You can even use Facebook Chat, Google Talk, and other networks through Pidgin’s XMPP protocol. A variety of plugins let you customize everything from chat windows to your buddy list, buddy icon, and more.
Have you ever wished you could combine the popularity of Facebook Chat with the convenience of a chat client like AIM or MSN? Now you can with Pidgin’s XMPP protocol. Combine your buddy lists from all of your favorite chat clients with your Facebook Friends and talk to them in a convenient chat window, so you don’t have to keep Facebook open.
Pidgin’s long list of official plugins allow you to customize colors and themes, add notes about buddies, save old conversations within new ones, configure how long you’ve been idle, and much more. Third party plugins let you use Pidgin with various online games, Skype, other networks and even your cell phone.
Tips for New Users
If you want to use Pidgin with Facebook Chat, make sure you check out Pidgin’s FAQ to learn how to set it up. Other chat networks can be set up easily through Pidgin’s “Manage Accounts” options, but certain XMPP accounts can be a little tricky. To connect to Facebook Chat through Pidgin, you must visit Facebook’s Chat page to learn how to set up your specific account.
Areas of Improvement
The plethora of plugins available for Pidgin can be a little confusing. After sorting through all of the official and third party plugins, a user may feel overwhelmed and unsure which ones to install or how to use them. A lot of the plugins perform functions that might serve users better if they were included in future versions of Pidgin, to simplify setup and avoid confusion.
Pidgin makes it easy to chat with all of your friends across various chat networks without installing multiple clients or keeping multiple windows open. It’s relatively easy to set up (unless you’re using Facebook Chat), and it includes many plugins which allow you to customize its features. However, the plugins might work better as built-in functions of future releases.
If each of your friends prefers a different chat client, or you just like to stay connected in every way possible, Pidgin is a great way to bring all of your buddies together in one place.
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