Is AOL IM the Same As Yahoo! IM and Facebook Messagner?

Both Yahoo Instant Messenger (YIM) and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) offer users online chat on multiple platforms. While you can install and use both programs simultaneously, it pays to know what features each offers: Instant messaging programs have more than just chat capabilities — you can video chat, transfer files and have access to a connected email account when you sign up for either AIM or YIM.

Basics

Both programs are free to download and install, but with YIM, if you have a Yahoo email account, you can access the Yahoo IM program from the same browser interface you use to send and receive your Yahoo mail. AIM allows you to sign in with Facebook instead of an AIM name, if you choose. Both programs enable you to connect to Facebook and chat with Facebook friends through the IM interface. Both programs have built-in emoticons available to add images to your conversation. YIM offers audibles — sound bites you can insert into the conversation — as well. Both programs support text-to-SMS messaging, so if you add a mobile number to a friend’s account, you can send message to his phone from your computer or mobile device.

Video and Voice Chat

If you want to alternative to text chat, both AIM and YIM offer video chat and voice chat. To use the features, you need both a microphone and a webcam. You can still access the text chat features on both programs while using the video or voice chat features.

File Transfer and Other Features

If you have a file you want to share with a friend, whether it’s a song, picture or document, you can use either IM program to send it. You can also receive files, as long as you accept the download request. When you receive a picture in YIM or AIM, you and your friend can see the image without having to download it. YIM also enables you to play games, like chess, with friends in a pop-up window that launches when you select games.

Mobile

Both AIM and YIM have mobile applications that function on iOS and Android. They use mobile data or Wi-Fi to connect you to the service. Though the apps are free to download, it may cost extra for you to use them, depending on your mobile device plan.Check with your mobile carrier to be sure.

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