Meebo Messenger is Shutting Down, Now What?

If you were using Meebo for chat reference at your library or to offer customers with online support this post is for you. Effective July 11, 2012, Google will shutdown (decommission) Meebo (click here to read more). If you have depended on Meebo you are probably looking for a replacement.

Below you will find a list and brief description of alternatives to Meebo and what they can do. The list is based on suggestions made by librarians that subscribe to LM_NET listserv.

Rather then start with the list, I have created a matrix that allows you to see at a glance what each of the services described offer.

Name

Free

Easy to Setup Download Required? Web Interface

Customization

Private Chat Multiple Private Chats Requires IM service? Chat Log

ChatWing

YES

YES

NO

YES

NO

NO

NO

NO

NO

Chatango

YES

YES

NO

YES

YES

NO

NO

NO

YES

Digsby

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES

eBuddy

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

Imo.im

YES

HUH

NO

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

Library H3lp

NO

YES

NO

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES

Plugoo

YES (LIMITED FEATURES)

NO

NO

YES

YES (limited w/o paying)

YES

NO (ONLY if paying customer)

NO

NO

Spark

YES

NO

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES

Zoho

YES

YES

NO

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES


ChatWing (http://chatwing.com/)

image

ChatWing is a tool that allows organizations to offer live chat on their website. However, this tool is not currently designed for the one-on-one conversations that librarians engage in with patrons. It does not allow any visual customizations (background color, text size) either. However, it does have word filters.

ChatWing FAQ: http://chatwing.com/faq


Chatango (http://chatango.com)

image

Like ChatWing, Chatango allows users to create their own chat room. So, for those interested in having undisturbed one-on-one chat sessions with several people at the same time, this is not for you. However, this is useful in situations where someone (e.g. book author) is engaging with many people.

Chatango Help http://www.chatango.com/help


Digsby (http://www.digsby.com)

image

According to some librarians, Digsby and Meebo are a lot alike. The main difference between the two is that Digsby must be downloaded and installed on every administrative machine and it is not available for Mac or Linux. Users of Digsby appreciate its simple and uncluttered interface, but are not to fond of the ads at the bottom of the chat windows.

Digsby FAQ: http://wiki.digsby.com/doku.php?id=faq


eBudddy (http://www.eBuddy.com)

image

eBuddy is described as a reliable tool that allows patrons to sign in through AIM, eBuddy, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, and MSN, MySpace and Yahoo! to engage in a chat session on your website.

eBuddy Support https://ebuddy.zendesk.com/home


Imo.im (http://imo.im)

image

Imo.im is a web-based service that works with several IM services including AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, MSN, Skype and VKontakte. Unlike many of the other options, Imo supports voice messages. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that visitors of your library site can chat without logging in to one of the mentioned networks. Also it is not clear how to embed it within your library’s website.

IMO Features https://o.imo.im/features.html


Library H3lp http://libraryh3lp.com/

image

Library H3lp, a fairly inexpensive fee-based service that has features that surpasses what Meebo ever provided. For details on that see the video comparing the two services on their homepage. For those of you not sure you want to pay for a service, you can give LibraryH3lp a 90-day free trial and see if it’s worth it.


Plugoo – http://www.plugoo.com/

image

Plugoo is another customizable real-time messenger program. Once you set it up, messages submitted by patrons using your library’s website are forwarded to your instant messenger client (AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, etc). A notable feature of Plugoo is that it forwards messages to your email if you are not available via IM.

Plugoo FAQ’s http://www.plugoo.com/faq.php#2


Spark (http://www.igniterealtime.org/projects/spark/)

image

Spark is an open source, IM client. It includes things like in-line spell checking, group chat room, bookmarks, and tabbed conversations. If you want to use Spark, you should have a web server and technical expertise.


Zoho Chat http://zchat.wiki.zoho.com/faq.html

image

Zoho Chat is a web-based chat system that can be accessed using any web browser. It can be integrated with other IMs including AIM, Google, ICQ, Jabber, MSN and Yahoo. Aside from some minor things (grey overlay used in widget), Zoho users have expressed satisfaction with the chat client and believe this is a great replacement for Meebo.

Zoho FAQ: http://zchat.wiki.zoho.com/faq.html


Time to Make a Choice

Would you like me to recommend a product for your library? Sorry, I can’t!

The decision on which tool should replace Meebo should be made on a case by case basis. The matrix  (top of page) combined with the brief descriptions can help you narrow the potential options. From there, you and your colleagues should test the finalists and then make a decision.

Good luck! Once you’ve selected a product, come back here and use the comments section below to let others reading this post what system you decided to go with and why!

7 comments to Meebo Messenger is Shutting Down, Now What?

  • Easter DiGangi
    June 25, 2012 at 4:29 am | Reply

    Trillian is also similar to Meebo.

    • lmagassa
      June 25, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply

      Thanks for letting us know about Trillian (www.trillian.im) Easter! What do you like about it the most? What sets it apart from some of the alternatives described here?

  • Michelle D.
    June 25, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply

    Thanks for the roundup, Lassana. I was using Meebo on my personal site to give people a way to contact me while I was online.

  • Victoria S
    June 26, 2012 at 4:59 am | Reply

    IM+ Web messenger supports AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, Jabber, ICQ, Mail.RU, MSN/live, Skype, Vkontakte, Yahoo!, Yandex, 
    MySpace, Mamba, Odnoklassniki and RenRen. http://plus.im

  • gershbec
    June 26, 2012 at 8:28 am | Reply

    Olark is also an excellent alternative. We’ve been using it for years.

  • Ian Chan
    July 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply

    Hi there, thanks for the round-up. Spark is not a IM/chat service but a locally-installed client. It’s more like Pidgin or Adium. You can use it to work with any IM service that allows for connections from an IM client. We have been using Spark with Meebo.

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