Despite Imhaha's frivolous name, this web-based instant-messaging service offers a decent array of features. Unfortunately it suffers from slow performance that occasionally makes using IM a chore.

Imhaha's home page at Imhaha.com is nicely laid out and easy to navigate, but is slow to load and respond. It isn't graphics heavy, so its lassitude is perplexing. It offers links to every IM service it supports: AIM/ICQ, QQ (an IM service popular in China), Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.

You can use your existing screen name and password for each service, and you can sign on to multiple services at once. Imhaha gives you the option of an invisible log on, and you can choose to create a single sign-on for accessing multiple accounts.

When you sign on to Imhaha, you hop to a web page that displays your buddy list in an embedded window (though you can drag it around the page, you can't remove it from the page), plus a few links to the rest of Imhaha's site. This page, which is almost entirely bare, is also slow to load and respond.

Imhaha's buddy list window is nicely laid out. If you log on to multiple services at once, tabs along the left side of the window separate your buddy lists. If you select the AIM tab, you'll see your AIM list, and so on. The buddy list window includes controls for adding or removing buddies and groups. It also lets you customise the display to show all of your buddies or only those who are currently online.

Like the buddy list window, the message windows closely replicate those on a desktop client. A button lets you transfer a file or view a chat log. Another button lets you add emoticons, and you can change the appearance of text by altering its font, size or colour, or by making it bold, underlined, or italic. Imhaha includes a typing indicator and a time stamp for messages.

Imhaha provides security features that some competitors lack. It uses SSL technology to encrypt all messages and passwords. (Most web-based services encrypt only passwords.) If you want to save a chat log, a copy of it will arrive via email; Imhaha will not retain a record of it.

Imhaha offers some appealing collaborative features, too, such as a cross-platform group chat. You can easily invite buddies from AIM, MSN and Yahoo to participate in a unified group chat. A whiteboard feature supports further collaboration.

Web-based IM service reviews: Meebo, Kool IM, Imhaha, RadiusIM

Imhaha: Specs

  • Web connection
  • MSN, Yahoo!, AIM or QQ log-in
  • Web connection
  • MSN, Yahoo!, AIM or QQ log-in

OUR VERDICT

Although its performance is occasionally lethargic, Imhaha is an impressive service, especially when you factor in its unique collaboration features.

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