Instant messaging is a killer business tool. It's faster than e-mail, cheaper than texting, and arguably more versatile than either one. Of course, the lack of cross-platform compatibility between AIM, GTalk, MSN, and the like can make IM something of a hassle.
That's why I've long been a fan of Meebo, which offers cross-platform instant messaging from the comfy confines of your browser. Now Zoho is getting in on the act with Zoho Chat 2.0, a free Web-based IM service that has several business-friendly tricks up its sleeve.
Like Meebo, Zoho Chat bridges the gap between various IM services. It supports AIM, Google, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, and Jabber-based networks. You can configure Zoho Chat to automatically connect to any or all of your accounts when you sign in.
Unlike Meebo, Zoho Chat offers integration with all of Zoho's apps, meaning you can chat with co-workers while collaborating on documents. You can also share your desktop with any user on any network, effectively holding online meetings without the need for additional software or services.
Zoho Chat's other business-savvy features include searchable chat history, one-click file transfers (though only to other Zoho users), and, coolest of all, embed options: You can embed a chat box in your site or blog and offer real-time support, instant communication with clients, and so on.
Good stuff! I can understand why some organizations might frown on a service like Meebo, which has a decidedly consumer feel. If you're looking for a more buttoned-down Web-based IM solution, you'll definitely like Zoho Chat.