Review: Speak for yourself, but let Trillian handle all your chats

Keep up with all your IM and social media conversations with this top-rated chat app.

Trillian is one of the most popular and best-rated standalone IM programs because it works so well with so many different chat apps and social networks; from Skype to Facebook and Twitter, and AIM, ICQ, and XMPP. Trillian lets you follow your conversations on mobile devices and unfamiliar computers without compromising your security, and its transparent privacy policy helps keep you informed, as well as safe. Trillian is available in several packages: an ad-supported Free version, an ad-free, Cloud-enhanced Pro version with an annual subscription, and a Lifetime version. Users must be 13 or older to access Trillian's network. We tried the latest freeware release, Trillian 5.3, in Windows 7.

Trillian offers several setup options, and the installer automatically removes old files if you're upgrading. We declined the option to run Trillian when Windows starts since we like a fast, clean boot with minimal Internet queries, but heavy chatters may prefer to get right at it. The first step is to sign in or create a new account; the next involves entering user names and passwords for Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, Skype, and other IM networks; and then just set up social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare. Signing in is easy; just click the appropriate network or site and log on as usual. Trillian asks to access your data (accepted) and post to friends (declined) just like the networks you access, and we could also opt to stay signed in through Trillian. We configured the e-mail accounts we wanted Trillian to follow and pressed "Done." Electronic tones signaled the program's launch, and Trillian logged on and started following our conversations in a narrow window with browser-like features.

Trillian is so popular in part because it takes care of a nagging problem with chat apps: Too many apps and not enough chat. We're sure we still have forgotten accounts with some equally forgotten social networks; Trillian can help prevent that, and also the problem, perhaps more annoying, of falling behind in conversations because of forgetting to check a feed, site, or thread. So see for yourself why so many users stick with Trillian.

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