Out of respect to the aforementioned title, this post is going to be a semi-trip down memory lane. Remembering when times were less confusing, phones didn’t have all the glitz of today, and instant messaging was basic. Ah, the good times.
Now, I want you to think for a minute – what were you doing in the year 2000? ICQ, for one, was killing it. That was its hey-day. Hundreds of millions of active users, it was the go-to communication tool for teens and parents alike, our days could be changed at a moments notice by that familiar “Uh Oh” sound, and getting someone’s ICQ number was often better than getting an actual phone number.
As fast as ICQ grew, it seemingly just died off. So what happened to ICQ?
As the craze was cooling down, ICQ sold its assets off to Russian web giant Mail.ru, then disappeared for a few years - at least from the North American market. Still being used quite heavily in its native Russia, the service is now poised for a comeback in the rest of the world as it launched its first Android app. "Already used by two million mobile users and available for iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Symbian devices, as well as natively on Windows and the mobile web, ICQ aims to be all things to all people: an instant message replacement tethered to a user’s address book (like WhatsApp) and a cross-platform IM manager for Facebook and Google Talk (like IM+, imo)," says MobileSyrup.
This news, though exciting, left me to question: is there room for another cross-platform instant messenger service? Whereas 9/10 times I would say no, I think ICQ has a shot. People know and trust the brand; it’s a nostalgic piece of our adolescence that we are being given the opportunity to relive. The thing is that ICQ just went away, there were never any scandals, privacy issues, or other negative press around them – so to hear of a return actually invokes happiness and memories of what was, which is something ICQ can leverage to their own advantage. Vintage is in right now and ICQ is a perfect example of it.
So what does the new and improved ICQ offer? The app naturally plugs into your social feeds, allowing simultaneous posts to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. You can also share photos and location between users independent of the service. While these features are cool, WhatsApp and Kik own the cross-platform IM space and it will be very hard to knock them off the pedestal. For the sake of memories and rooting for the underdog, I hope that the notorious little green flower icon can regain some of its lost dominance and become the notable app it once was – it deserves that much.
Do you think you will give ICQ another shot? Let us know in the comments. You can also find me by searching 30129239 – just putting it out there.