"Guide" in Greek. Also, a new messenger that pretty much encompasses all the neat features you find in messengers today, such as private messaging, people search and website-associate chatrooms. Also has voice chat. While it is without argument the best looking messenger around, it has a tad of a resource problem. Or a machine-halting app-crashing resource problem if you let it run for over a couple of hours.

interesting client in that they seem to be actually accomplishing the cross-service IM. Currently it works with ICQ, AIM, and Yahoo! Messenger. This is useful if you need to talk to people on both services. Anything that bridges the gap is always good.

While a good ideal, the Odigo client has only had mixed sucess in maintaining interoperability with AIM and Yahoo! Messenger. This is probably due to AOL's stubbornness in not allowing outside companies access to their internal IM network, despite their public release of the IM Protocol. This lead to a back-and-forth hacking effort from both companies. As soon as a new block was in place, Odigo would come up with a patch. In turn, AOL continues to engineer new blocks to outsiders. Honestly, though, should we expect anything more from AOL, the company that sells you ads? This has been leading up to a federal court case, with the open standards effort being lead by Tribal.com, the makers of a similar interoperability client called PowWow.

Odigo is a Great Idea which, like most Great Ideas on the internet, falls a touch short of the mark due to some silly functionality issues.

The idea is that it's a chat client which can be used to IM (Instant Message) people who are on ICQ, AIM, Yahoo and MSN Messenger, as well as other Odigo users. A fantastic idea since many of us have passed through these services, picked up enormous buddy lists and now have to use lots of different clients to keep up with their cyber-social lives. That, and ICQ; frankly, it sucks and anyone would be mad to not want a break from that incredibly bad GUI.

It's also feature packed, as these things are; it has a weird "people finder" which works much as ICQ's does only with a radar scope kind of graphic, a POP3 and webmail email notifier which checks your mail for you if you so desire, and it has voice chat after a fashion, but only in between Odigo users.

Where it falls flat is with its daft (not as bad as ICQ but still) GUI, its main window which is unexpandable, the menus which are non standard and badly laid out - and the all important system resource drain. Don't leave this baby on for too long, or your computer may be unable to work after a while. It can be cured by a quick restart as usual, but it's a major bug/pain in the arse.

All in all, it looks great which is fine for some but clutters its usability; the inter-service features work well enough but occasionally Odigo will refuse to connect to one or other of them, prompting a retry to connect, and maybe even a restart of the client application altogether. But it's still worth trying, so something about it must be good 'cos I'm not usually willing to put up with so many faults in my apps.

Get it, try it, but don't be uninstalling Yahoo Messenger for a while yet...

Thanks to killerpenguin who told me about Trillian which does what Odigo tries to do and succeeds far better AND can connect to IRC as well. Sorry Odigo, but bye bye...

STOP PRESS! Only Trillian too can cause system resource problems, still not as often as Odigo, but you've been warned. Oh well, you pays yer money, ($0), you takes yer choice...

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