Seven free chat apps to get in touch with other users
Get in touch with other Web site visitors with these downloadable tools.
Last time we covered services that required no install or downloads to get a chat going. Today we're looking at seven embeddable objects and extensions for your browser or Web site that give you some additional features over those services:
- Weezu is a small extension for both Firefox and Internet Explorer that creates a cartoon-like chatting area on the bottom of your browser. Users get their own avatars, and the interface is completely skinnable. Like some of the services we covered in the first chat roundup, Weezu requires no registration to get going.
- Me.dium. This plug-in lets you chat with others at any Web site and follows you from site to site. Me.dium gives you a friends list, profiles, and forums. In case you're worried about privacy, Me.dium automatically turns itself off when you're visiting secure pages like banks or Web mail. See our previous coverage.
- Dai.sy is similar to Me.dium but with a file-sharing twist. You can chat on any site together, and swap files like documents or pictures. There's also a built-in blogging tool. Dai.sy works with Firefox and Flock and requires no sign-up.
- Chatsum shares features with Me.dium and Dai.sy, but is also at work on a widget to use in Mac OS X's Dashboard. Also neat are two different tabs, one for the site as a whole and one for whatever page you're on, which means you can visit individual stories or sections separately.
- Yakalike is a Firefox extension that feels similar to Yaplet's (see our coverage of Yaplet here). It also works with IM client Jabber, meaning you can continue to chat with others outside of your browser without installing another app.
- The Planet Minibox chat box can be inserted in most Web sites. Planet Minibox logs everyone's messages for the owner to keep track of. It also has some customization and skinning options, which means you can tailor it to match the look and feel of your site. See our hands-on review here.
- Yackpack. Interested in adding voice chat to your site? Yackpack is essentially a push-to-talk voice meeting service mixed with voice mail. You can embed it on your site or create your own and send others a link for them to join. It runs straight in your browser (Internet Explorer- and Firefox-friendly) and requires no install. Previous coverage of Yackpack here.