A little over a month ago, Cerulean Studios issued forth a beta of the next version of its Trillian multinetwork chat app for desktops and mobile phones. On Tuesday, Trillian 4.2 for Windows (download) assumed the role of Stable IM Client with some minor updates from the previous version.
Among some of the changes to hit version 4.2 (up from version 4.1) are easier retweeting from the buddy window and simultaneous sign-in for Windows Live chat (meaning you can sign in at multiple locations without getting kicked off anywhere else). The history portion of the conversation window (timeline, to be specific) also got a few more smarts, letting you organize file and photo transfers--unfortunately we're not fans of what feels like a cluttered interface.
Trillian had already included a lookup for popular terms typed into the chat window. Version 4.2 similarly pops up a preview of the destination site when Trillian detects someone has sent you a URL. While we tend to turn off the definitions lookup, this URL-preview feature is especially useful for getting the feel for Web sites whose identity has been hidden with a link-shortener; for instance "http://bit.ly/a2yU" rather than www.cnettv.com. The URL lookup hasn't been without flaws in our tests, however, which you can read about more in our first impressions.
During its promotion from beta to 4,2 final, Trillian for Windows has also received close to 100 bugfixes and OAuth support for Twitter.
While Trillian certainly has the technical features to recommend it--hooks into Facebook and Twitter, automatic link-shortening, file transfers--we've also maintained the same set of gripes since the Astra overhaul was first under way, particularly when it comes to the intangible quality of look and feel that keep us from choosing Trillian full-time. Your preferences aren't ours, so if you're looking for a multinetwork IM app, try it out for yourself.
Trillian IM comes in free and pro versions. Cerulean Studios is currently offering an upgrade to the pro features (like more advanced video support, tech support, further skin personalization, and Web IM) on sale for $15.