If you want instant messaging without an extra app, there's always Meebo. For those missing out on the desktop experience, however, there's a new solution called AirTalkr that does multiclient IM sans a full installation using Adobe's Integrated Runtime (AIR). The service works with five of the major clients, along with several Web services including YouTube, Flickr, along with Twitter and MySpace. In addition to its AIR namesake, there's also a Web version that has identical functionality sans the install, if you're willing to relegate yourself to the Windows Vista-style virtual desktop it creates in your browser.
The app breaks up IM, photos and videos into three different tabs. The IM is multitabbed and supports something called AirCards, which pull up your buddy's MySpace and Friendster profile, along with Flickr shots, Twitter updates, blog, and profile on LinkedInfrom their e-mail address. If it can't find it, there are links to ask your buddy (which will start a conversation) or add it yourself using another e-mail address or a URL.
The photos tab links up with Flickr, and if you're a Flickr user you can authorize your the app to browse your photos, which can be opened up and viewed on your desktop. The Video feature is a little more basic, with four pages full of popular and featured videos from YouTube that play in a small window, along with a search tool. The video player is small and cannot be resized, which is where the illusion of a real app begins to break down.
All in all, Air Talkr is off to a good start, although it's in a very competitive field. Competitors like Meebo have things like buddy list pop-out, file transfer, and public rooms. AIR is also a bit young, and still very much in beta. Keep an eye on this one, though, the AirCard concept is a second layer of convergence on top of multiclients that might make this one stand out.
To see a video of Air Talkr in action, click the read more link below. On a related note, if you're a developer working on a hands-on video with your service, Kelly Clarkson is not the way to go.