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Wablet Preview (private alpha)

November 20th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

We had the opportunity to try out Wablet web chat IM. Wablet is currently in private alpha so our preview will be limited and a high level look at the service. The service allows you to consolidate your various IM accounts (currently supports Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, and AOL) and create a Wablet IM account. While this is nothing new and has been done with various desktop and online services (Meebo, Koolim), they do have some other interesting features.

The Wablet flash chat client is relatively simple and functions well. There’s really not much to say at this time. Since it is still in alpha, there are features that are missing or only partially implemented at this point. It does have the basic functionality though. Compared to our favorite desktop client (Gaim) it does lack in features and plugins. We will see if they are able to provide the feature set that matured desktop clients offer. It’s hard for us to see that happen, but we don’t believe that will matter for most users. The ability to have access to your IM accounts from just about anywhere is the big draw. No more worrying about what client, if any, is installed. As long as the computer has a modern browser and Flash, you will be able to chat. No desktop client will give you this.

Site chat widgets are also nothing new. Again, Wablet provides a simple way for you to customize and add widgets to your web sites/pages. These widgets allow you to chat with your web site visitors. It also gives people an easy way to contact you without knowing or remembering your IM account info and having a compatible IM client installed. So, if you want to chat with a friend of yours while on vacation, you just need to go to their blog and use the widget. No need to worry about what network their on, what software you need or their account info to contact.

Lastly, well not really, but last of the major points is the ability to create different online personas. This feature is what really makes Wablet stand out from the other. We don’t believe we have seen this feature on any of the other services. You can use the same account but display a different persona to your visitors. Have one for your personal blog, one for your social network like MySpace, one for your web email and/or a different one for your professional chat.

There are of course other features like contact lists, message logs, etc. Again, since this is still in private alpha we have only provided an overview. While we probably will not replace Gaim with Wablet as it stands, it definitely is something we will continue to monitor and run along side Gaim. For users who don’t need specific plugins/features that desktop clients offer, then Wablet would be a great choice once they go public. The ability to access your account from just about anywhere is great. And, for users who want to provide different identities/personas through web widgets then Wablet is the only choice (as far as we know).

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