ICQ was developed by Mirabilis an Israeli company that is an open source messaging program that is instant chat in real time, created in 1996. The name itself are the initials which stand for I Seek You. The ownership of this instant messaging program was given ownership in 1998 to AOL and in 2010 to Mail.Ru Group.
The program was first made available in November of 1996 and was completely free for download. Any user that registered for an account was given their number which was very similar to a telephone number so others could contact them. This program was the very first program that made available as a stand alone instant messaging system as well as the first online messaging service that offered chat in real time. It may not have been the first one to hit the net as that was IRC but this program provided a better one on one conversation system which was the beginning for other such programs similar to AIM as well as the foundation for many social media apps around today.
ICQ had around 100 million accounts in 2001; however, when it was taken over by Mail.Ru the user accounts had dropped to 42 million in 2010. By 2013, the users have decreased to around 11 million.
Features of OCQ
- Multi user chats
- Offline messaging
- Free SMS sending with a daily limit
- Greeting cards
- Resumable file transfers
- Searchable database of users, and multiplayer games
- Emoticons are also allowed in live chat
Today, ICQ6 is available which was announced and available in 2007 offering a single platform for communication that offered other options that many users were happy to see including free SMS from ICQ to cell phones, instant messenger services, video communications, and voice communications. The unique brand new sound gallery was created by Infected Mushroom an Israeli psychedelic duo.