Digsby Review Editor's Choice

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Send e-mail from chat window; Social network integration; Attractive interface; Integrated video-calling capability

The Cons

Large installation file; No Linux or Mac support

Verdict

The best application for Windows users who want to combine instant messaging and social networking.

Digsby condenses all your instant messaging, e-mail, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter accounts into a single, streamlined application. This software sports an attractive, streamlined design, and it has as an easy-to-learn interface that makes it a must-have app for messaging multitaskers.

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Customizable Chat Client

A white window with Digsby's cartoon mascot (which one-ups Adium's duck in terms of cuteness) is the portal into the service. When we first logged into the client, it prompted us to add our instant messaging usernames and passwords; we typed in our AIM, Google Talk, and Yahoo information and were immediately logged into each of the respective services. Digsby currently supports AIM, Facebook Chat, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo instant messaging services and offers more cross-platform interoperability than eBuddy, Meebo, and Trillian Basic. If you want to chat it up with MySpace users, however, you may be better served by eBuddy, which offers interoperability with the social networking site's instant messenger.

Contacts appear on a single buddy list that can be tricked out with different skins. Green or red bubbles appear next to each name to indicate your buddies' status and the chat clients they're using. You can also reorganize the layout by placing social networks and e-mail accounts above or below IM contacts. In addition, if one of your contacts has more than one IM account, you can merge both of their handles into a single contact entry.

Ease of Use and Features

Like flipping through tabs in a Web browser, you can toggle among conversations by hitting Ctrl+Tab. An interactive pop-up notification for new IMs conveniently displays the message in a translucent box in the lower right-hand corner of your screen (you can disable this at any time, though). While the ability to send files and e-mails to your contacts is a neat addition, we would have liked to see the capability to hold group chats and share photos within the IM window, like you can do with Meebo.

New to the service is the ability to hold audio and video chats (through a partnership with TokBox). Using aGateway P-7811FXnotebook, we enjoyed solid, if unspectacular, video quality. Images were clear, but lacked color vibrancy, in our MSN video chats. On the audio end, our friends' vocals were slightly out of sync with their lip movements, and they reported the same when asked about our A/V quality. Audio was slightly muffled but not detrimental to the experience.

E-mail, Social Networking Support

Digsby doesn't just consolidate your instant messages into one window; it lets you view your recent e-mail messages right from the client. A small widget, which is compatible with AOL/AIM Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and POP and IMAP e-mail servers, displays your most recent messages. It lets you see the first lines of the e-mail as a preview, but you can read the entire message by clicking Open Message.

Digsby features tight integration with Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. After logging into your social network accounts through Digsby, you can view your latest messages, notifications, events, and wall posts made to your profile or your friends' profiles. Clicking a specific notification will launch the full page in a browser. The integration doesn't eliminate the need to log into your favorite social sites, but it does cut down on having to refresh your page constantly to see updates.

Verdict

Although several services let you combine multiple instant messaging services into one client, Digsby goes further by incorporating social networking sites and e-mail clients--just about everything you'd want for staying in touch with others. Some may prefer the browser-based Meebo, but Digsby is our top choice overall because of its versatility and friendlier interface.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Software Type Chat & Messaging Service
Platforms Windows
Required Processor N/A
Software Required OS: Windows Vista, XP
Required RAM 512MB RAM
Disk Space 55.9MB
Company Website http://www.digsby.com