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RIA & Ajax: Article

AJAX-Powered Online Messaging Service Meebo Enters a New Phase

Version 1.0 Designed to Enhance the Online IM Experience in Accordance to User Suggestions

meebo Inc., a popular web-based Instant Messaging (IM) provider, announced that the company has entered into its next phase of development by formally moving out of alpha into its “full release” mode. meebo is a web-based instant messaging service that allows users to access all of their IM buddies from any computer with a web browser. Using Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) technology meebo creates a “software-like” experience on the web, requiring no software downloads or installs. Known for engaging their large user base in site development and refinement, meebo has encouraged feedback from users and built a simple and more robust platform to address changing IM needs.

The meebo full release contains all of the features that users have grown to love in the alpha, but is now nearing parity with traditional software IM clients. Along with a complete visual re-haul and a new design, meebo features the ability to pop-out windows of the browser, a new skin, optimized chatlogs, better buddylist management (including drag and drop), individual account management, better localized user interface (UI), AIM profiles and various optimizations to enhance speed and performance.

“meebo seeks to create the ideal online IM experience for its users — what the users want, the users get — we listen,” said Seth Sternberg, CEO and co-founder of meebo Inc. “We’ve had such great success with the alpha version this past year that we’ve decided to bypass the beta and jump directly into full release. The new features accentuate what users loved about the alpha product, like its flexibility and simplicity — this is a big step for us and we’ll continue to work to make the IM user experience even better.”

The full release has been designed to enhance the online IM experience in accordance to user suggestions and meebo’s expertise. New upgrades and features to the site include:

New Visual Design -- meebo has updated its visual design based on user and usability feedback. This includes a new skin, updated icons, better usability, and cleaner menus — a major goal was to make it easier to access meebo properties.
Pop Outs -- This gives users the ability to “pop out” the buddylist of the browser and IM windows allowing them to achieve an even deeper software-like experience while using meebo. Users can now selectively pop out and pop in windows, providing an easy way to separate conversations and maximize screen real estate.
Optimized Performance – meebo has worked on optimizing performance across many of the popular browser to ensure a faster and more efficient user experience.
Skinning -- With the introduction of a new visual design, meebo is also giving users an option to switch back to the “classic” meebo skin when they’re inside meebo.com. It's a new feature selectable in the preferences pane.
Updated Chatlogs -- Chatlogs are now easily accessible, and the new paginated interface makes it easy to navigate and search through individual buddy logs.
Buddylist Management -- meebo users’ top request is better buddy list management. Users can now drag and drop buddy between groups for better buddylist management.
Individual Account Management -- Users now have the ability to individually sign on and off accounts in the console area, as well as the ability to update their aliases more easily.
Better Localized UI -- More UI components in meebo.com are now localized to the local language, such as buttons, menus and links. meebo dynamically changes to the localized version based on language preference set by the user.
AIM Profiles -- Users of the AIM network will be able to set their profile information via meebo.

Last month, meebo also launched a new widget, meebo me, which easily integrates the meebo instant messaging platform into numerous types of websites: social networking sites, blogs, commerce sites and more. The meebo me widget has two main features — it enables site-owners to privately chat with anyone visiting their website; and it offers real-time presence information for site-owners to see visitors to their page. meebo me is the first IM service to enable individuals to deeply embed IM everywhere throughout the web as well as enabling real-time web presence information to site owners.

More Stories By RIA News Desk

Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to RIA@sys-con.com to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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