Despite development of social networks, instant messaging remains relevant in Israel

Despite development of s

By JACOB KANTER
October 31, 2009 21:51
1 minute read.

 
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As social networking sites like Facebook have steadily taken on new features, they've encroached on the territory of older, more established Internet companies. One such enterprise is Israeli-based ICQ, which helped introduce the world to instant messaging in the mid-1990s. When Facebook released Facebook Chat to its now 300 million members in April 2008, ICQ and similar instant messaging companies undoubtedly had a lot to worry about - the only real difference between the two is that Facebook Chat allows its users to instant message within a browser, while ICQ needs no browser to operate. But according to a new ICQ survey, those fears can be put to rest. The poll, released on Thursday, reported that while 74 percent of Israeli youth utilize social networks, only 28% use the networks' chat applications, and 53% still prefer instant messaging programs. Despite the great deal of time spent on networking sites, the survey found that they did not constitute an alternative to instant messaging programs, for three main reasons. Thirty percent of those polled said they preferred the ease of use of instant messaging, 20% preferred the fast response time, and 10% cited stronger security measures within instant messaging programs. ICQ Vice CEO Shraga Mor was understandably pleased that his company still has a place in the hearts of Israeli youth. "ICQ is proud to be a pioneer in the realm of instant messaging," Mor said in a statement. "The service constitutes a meaningful step on the path to communications development on the Internet. "From our poll, we learned that young people are dedicating a great deal of time to social networking sites, but when they need a personal communication tool, instant messaging programs provide the fastest and most comfortable experience." ICQ burst onto the scene in November 1996 as one of the first instant messaging services, and its parent company, Mirabilis, was purchased by America Online in June 1998 for more than $400 million.

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