Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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12/18/2007
07:01 PM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
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IM-History Can Consolidate All Your IMs, But Should It?

IM-History has announced a beta trial of a new version of its Web application that collects all your instant messaging conversations into one convenient, searchable archive. That could be really great. Or it could be really scary.

IM-History has announced a beta trial of a new version of its Web application that collects all your instant messaging conversations into one convenient, searchable archive. That could be really great. Or it could be really scary.Andrew Pavliv, the founder and CEO of IM-History, thinks it's great. He came up with the idea early this year, he said in a phone interview. He was working in a business-development job for a software company and trying to create a log of customer communications from different devices via different messaging applications. His solution was to create a Web-based service that watches your IM conversations and sends them to a server, where you can access them.

On the other hand, Pavliv is well aware that there are scary issues of privacy and security lurking around the edges of what he's doing.

He stressed that both the collection and access are secured by encrypted storage and SSL access, and control rests with the user: "You can choose what context you save conversations in. They are saved on a secured server and accessed through a secure connector." You select which IM services you record and which you don't, he said: You choose which contacts you record conversations with. If you delete a contact, all your archived conversations with that contact are deleted. Or you can delete conversations one by one.

Whether that will satisfy corporate IT dictates about using -- and saving -- IMs depends on the company you work for, but I've got to say, once you get over the initial "ohmigawd!" reaction, IM-History has some really attractive features.

The key is the service's ability to aggregate all your conversations from any of several Web services. IM-History supports Skype, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, MSN, Miranda IM, AIM 6.1 to 6.5, QIP, Trillian, and Pidgin for Linux (but not, alas, Pidgin on the PC). Conversations across multiple messengers are grouped together. You can set the date range of conversations to display. You can search all that text, cut and paste, and in general treat something that was gone when you closed the window like a database.

There are other ways to archive IM traffic -- you can log the conversations in most individual messenger services and use applications like Belkasoft Universal IM History Extractor to massage those logs. IM-History even has at least one competitor, Simkl, that does much the same thing.

If the idea of having all your IM conversations in one place doesn't freak you out, then it looks like your chatty past could have a bright future.

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