Chatting: combined, not mixed.

Anyone who uses Web chat programs (used on the Internet to send text messages directly to contacts) has the tough choice of either sticking to one service—such as AOL, Microsoft Messenger, Yahoo, ICQ, IRC—or using several services. Those who opt for the latter have to deal with message windows flinging themselves with impunity across the desktop, and the user is forced to coordinate between a mess of windows.

Not with Trillian. Cerulean Studios has created a program that combines the aforementioned Web chat services into a single interface, without skimping on the options. Trillian is a fully empowered Web chat client that is capable of direct connections, firewall proxy, send file commands, a completely editable buddy list and all of the IRC queries.

On the downside, the default skin (a skins is a combination of files that determines how the program looks) leaves a bit to be desired, as it navigates horribly, but there are currently 60 downloadable skins available—and additions come weekly.

Perhaps Trillian’s greatest feature is its free cost. AOL’s Instant Messenger, Yahoo’s Messenger and Microsoft’s Messenger all contain flashing advertisements; there are none on Cerulean Studio’s client.