November 8, 2004
Iíve been a long-time fan of Trillian, having used it for almost three years now. Cerulean Studios last Friday released a public alpha version of the upcoming Trillian 3.0 instant messenger, and it knocked my socks off.
True, it is an alpha version and they promise that it will have bugs and very well may crash, but my experience after a few days has been nothing but positive. For starters, there is now a single installation for both the free, Trillian Basic and the commercial Trillian Pro versions. If youíve paid for a subscription to the Pro version, the program will recognize this and automatically enable the Pro features.
The changes are immediately apparent on the contact list. Trillian now displays buddy icons or display pictures next to your contacts along with their status. You can turn configure the display to turn these off completely, or control the size of the icons from tiny, small, medium to large. Iíve been running with the ítinyí setting and having the picture really helps me pick out my friends much more quickly.
Similar to MSN Messenger 7.0, Trillian now shows your own íavatarí or display picture, your name and online status at the top of your contact list. This is great for me, because I use several computers and itís a good reminder of how other people see my identity.
The most important new features are enhanced support for audio and video chat. Trillian will now allow you to make audio calls via MSN, Yahoo and AIM networks, and even use audio in Yahoo chat rooms. The audio features are included in Trillian Basic.
In Trillian Pro, you also get enhanced video chat support, with the ability to use video with MSN, Yahoo, AIM and even iChat AV users. The video chat feature gives you the ability to view your own webcam as a picture-in-a-picture or side-by-side. There is also a full-screen mode if youíve got the horsepower and the bandwidth to support it.
On the subject of video chat, Trillian 3 introduces the concept of time travel. Basically it gives your video chat window Tivo-like rewind and replay capabilities. You can back up a video chat session and view something you might have missed.
[img]/im/trillian/images/Trillian-3-04.jpg[/img]The chat window has been enhanced with an integrated spell checking and a cool new feature they call íInstant Lookupí which identifies interesting subject matter with a subtle underline. Hover over the words and youíll see a brief definition. Right click over any words and you can do a quick search on the web or in Wikipedia.
The message history has been greatly enhanced, with the ability to see a timeline view of all your instant messaging activity, regardless of who or what IM network was used. This is especially useful if youíve used several different IM networks to contact the same people (for example, AIM at work and MSN at home).
Finally, there is a new serverless instant messaging capability that will be of interest to businesses looking for a low-cost IM solution. Based on Appleís Rendezvous protocol, it allows you to send instant messages to other Trillian users on your local area network (LAN). This is unique in that it doesnít require you to setup an account on any of the other IM networks, and could help Trillian gain a foothold in the business arena.
You can learn more about the Trillian 3.0 sneak peek at the Cerulean Studios website. The basic version remains free. A one-year subscription to Trillian Pro is USD$25, but you can request at free 15-day trial.
Last edited by Jeff; 01-26-2005 at 08:14 PM.
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