Chatting gets savvier

Digsby and Trillian improve their functionality, while Internet Explorer impresses even more.

This week in The Download Dispatch, instant messaging gets upgraded. On Monday, the refurbished Trillian 5 beta for Windows was released to the masses. The all-in-one chat client (download) received a sleek interface makeover, adding LinkedIn and Foursquare social-networking services to its portfolio of social sites. In addition, this build makes entering, exiting, and registering the program a smoother process. Because this is not the final release, the application is not completely user-friendly; pinned functions and lengthy installation are just a couple of hiccups that we hope get sorted out in the next release. Digsby (download) also received an update. The multiprotocol chat program now includes group chat capabilities, and offers new LinkedIn and MySpace features.

Things have been going swimmingly in Microsoft's world these days. Not only will it release a record number of bulletins in a month, Tuesday by itself includes 14 security bulletins that plug 34 holes. Eight of these are critical, spanning from patches in Microsoft Office to Internet Explorer. Speaking of Internet Explorer (download), we had the chance to check out the developer's preview of the IE9 final release. The preview proved to be fruitful for IE; the new JavaScript engine Chakra stimulated HTML5 for better-powered audio/video support, extensive SVG animation support, and highly improved Acid3 test results.

In more communication news, Mozilla's Thunderbird Contacts add-on helps users manage e-mail and social-networking contacts straight from the desktop. The extension (download) is compatible with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Plaxo, melding the social Web with the mail Web.