More than three years in the making, Trillian is back with a slight name change and a slew of new features. It's keeping the beta code-name Astra as part of its official title, but more importantly it's been updated for the modern IM world. Skinnable but not modular, the chat client now supports Google, MySpace IM, Skype, and Facebook, as well as AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, and IRC. Both POP3 and IMAP e-mail checking see some love here, too.
Trillian now has deep hooks into Facebook and Twitter. It will automatically shorten URLs in your tweets, as well as allow direct messages, re-tweets, and replies. Twitter Trends can show up in your contact list, and you can get tweets to appear in tooltip form. Facebook features include news feed integration, Facebook Inbox checking, and synchronized message updating in addition to Facebook IM. Just on these features alone, Trillian Astra offers a bit more than its IM competitors.
Trillian Astra runs lighter than the previous version, too, and you're less likely to notice system slowdowns because of Trillian memory leaks. Video chat gets basic support, as does universal drag-and-drop file transfer. The paid upgrade gives you browser-based IM from Trillian.im, full-screen video and filters to colorize your vids, multiple simultaneous file transfer, and themes, as well as tech support. These features are available for the first 30 days you use the free version, then they deactivate. The biggest changes, besides the reskinned interface, are the long-needed performance improvements and support for a broad range of IM protocols. Longtime fans won't be disappointed.