Unhappy with your current instant messaging tool? Then don't just put up with it. There are alternatives - and Miranda IM is one of the best.

The program supports all the main protocols, for instance: AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), Facebook, Gadu-Gadu, IAX, ICQ, IRC, Jabber, MSN, Netsend, Tlen, Yahoo! and more. And so there's no need to install multiple tools, as Miranda IM lets you chat with friends on all these networks from one simple interface.

Chatting is fun and easy with an attractive interface. If you don't like some aspect of the program, though, the chances are it can be changed (this is one of the most configurable chat tools around). And a full message archive lets you recall any particular conversation whenever you like.

These are just the start of Miranda's abilities, though. A clever plugin framework has encouraged developers to produce a range of add-ons, and there are now more than 350 available. Browse the list and you'll find tools to encrypt your messages, display up-to-date weather information, extend your contacts list, send SMS messages, play games and more, all for free.

Verdict

A lightweight and highly customisable way to stay in touch online