The Internet has made slacking off at work not only easy but an art form. Facebook, instant access to news and celebrity gossip, streaming video and instant messaging all offer satisfying diversions from the work at hand. These days though, instant messaging is more than talking to your significant other or gossiping with the cubicle dweller down the hall. Instant messaging programs today are powerful programs that enable you to do a variety of cool things beyond the obvious.
•Text Message Your Friend’s Phones: AIM, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger all allow users to send messages directly to their friend’s cell phones. And this service is free for the sender. (Standard rates may apply to the recipient.)
•Free VoIP Calls: AIM, Google Talk, Gmail, Skype, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger all make it possible to place PC to PC phone calls.
•Play Free Computer Games Over IM: AIM, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger all offer a wide variety of games you and your friends can play over instant messenger programs.
•File Transfers: It is possible to transfer files over both AIM and Google Talk. Then you can at least plausibly pretend that your IM session at work is based on productivity.
•Buddy Chat: AIM allows you to turn your private instant messaging session into a private chat room for just you and your friends. Have all the fun of the chat room with far fewer sketchy people lurking in the corners.
•IM for Charity: Windows Live Messenger allows its users to select a beneficiary and each chat they undertake through the service will contribute dollars to the charity of their choice.
Instant messaging is much more than idly passing what would be otherwise productive time. New programs have more interesting and powerful options that allow you to customize your chat experience to suit you and your friends.