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E-Mail And IM Get CloserE-Mail And IM Get Closer

ICQ and Mail2World collaboration shows that E-mail and IM services are converging.

Thomas Claburn

November 24, 2004

1 Min Read

ICQ, an IM service provider owned by America Online, and Mail2World Inc., a provider of messaging and collaboration services, this week revealed a free upgrade to the ICQmail service that includes virus scanning, spam-filtering, instant E-mail translation in seven languages, 6 Mbytes of storage, and new customization features.

ICQ, which claims 20 million users worldwide, also released a $19.99-a-year premium version that offers 2 Gbytes of storage, along with extras like the ability to send E-mail to Short Message Service-enabled phones. While not a complete merger between E-mail and instant messaging, Ronen Arad, director of product management of ICQ, suggests that the two applications are converging, initially through IM alerts that inform users about mail that arrived while they were offline. Subsequent revisions should bring the two applications even closer. "ICQ will further enhance the integration of mail and IM services with the release of an ICQmail Xtraz in the very near future," Arad says in an E-mail interview. "The unique Xtraz technology, launched with the latest ICQ client 4.0 in April 2004, enables users to launch popular ICQ features and services directly from their ICQ client, rather than downloading a new version of the ICQ client." Thus, he says, users will be able to enter the mail service directly from the ICQ client without an additional login.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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