The Past, Present and Future of Chat Applications

The human race has always been on the journey of inventing new ways of communication and reinventing the existing ones. It is not ‘sending a mail and waiting for a response’ anymore. Communication has come to a stage where we look for responses right away or at least get to know if the message has been received or viewed at the other end. Ever since the concept of IM (Instant Messaging) reached the mainstream in the 1980s, the communication industry has revolutionized the way the whole world interacts, allowing us to connect and engage in real-time. As internet and data speeds have vastly improved, the communication experience has also scaled from being tied to a place to virtually present anywhere in the world.

Rise of Instant Messaging Apps

Though texting a friend located miles away is a very common thing now, it was only two decades when the real revolution began. Here is a quick overview of the evolution of instant messaging and chat applications:

1961 – A pioneering instant messaging platform evolved that allowed 30 users in a chat, envisioned by MIT’s CTSS along with other multi-user operating systems.

1988/90 – IRC (Internet Relay Chat) enabled real-time chat with users connected to networks with client software.

1992 – Vodafone GSM sent the first SMS message, “Merry Christmas”, in the UK.

Late 90s to early 2000s – Instant messaging goes mainstream with popular chat applications developed by Yahoo, MSN, AIM and ICQ. With more advanced technology, these platforms competed neck-to-neck with more features like sharing photos, making video calls and playing games online.

2000 to 2010 – By this time, SMS became a mandate and the now big players entered and started ruling the chat-based application space. From iChat, Skype, Google Talk, MySpaceIM to Facebook chat, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and many more became a household name and reinvented the concept of texting and communication.

2010 to Present – Many players merged, updated, and adapted to become a billion-dollar industry.

From simple text messages to virtual reality, we have come a long way!

Top IM apps in the market

With the highest user engagement in the communication medium, Instant messaging apps are the go-to players for any user or an enterprise to make meaningful connections. Though there are many applications available in the market, not all meet the users’ expectations in terms of their simplicity and functionality; some are even restricted in a few countries. Based on the number of active users, here are the top IM apps in the market:

  1. WhatsApp
  2. Facebook messenger
  3. WeChat
  4. QQ
  5. Telegram
  6. Snapchat

Viber, Line, Skype and Tango are other popular applications that have a good user base. Global active users alone do not measure the success of these applications, it is also region and country-specific. Some applications may not be the most used globally, but they still dominate the top players in terms of reach and business in specific areas.

Instant Messaging for Business

Instant messaging chat applications can build a collaborative work environment, improve communication, and more importantly connect with your customers in their preferred channel. IMs thrive on the idea of immediacy, but how well can it impact your business growth?

Instant response

Not all are comfortable attending a call or replying to a mail right away. Chat applications are the ones that break the formal nature of communication that demands a longer response time. IMs have the simplicity and casualness which pushes anyone to respond faster.

Availability status

Mails and calls keep us blind to the other end. Whereas IMs can let you know one’s online status, message delivery and read status. This makes sure you are heard!

User friendly

As people are used to some Instant Messaging applications in their daily routine, implementing an IM for organizational and business purposes reduces the unnecessary learning curve and makes it easy for everyone to get into the communication flow.

Remote work culture

IMs are a great deal of support for distant working. With the current situation and trend, working remotely is the need of the hour, IMs make sure they are efficient.

Community building

Chat apps offer an opportunity for readers and viewers to easily connect, share, collaborate, and discuss a range of topics. This keeps the group engaged and invested for a progressive and healthy communication.

What does the future hold?

The existing chat applications have a lot to offer but what does the future look like? It is highly vested in the ability to create an ecosystem of opportunities and advancements. Users are used to the luxury of depending on the mobile for everything. The same applies to chat applications; they will try to be everything and anything. Here are some of the features that give a glimpse of what the future might look like:

  • E-commerce – the integration of commerce, retail and payments in one place
  • Chatbots – Automated chatbots can directly connect and make meaningful conversations with the customer
  • VR/AR integration – videos are in the past; augmented & virtual reality are the NextGen communication technique
  • Social features – With status, groups and broadcasts, chat applications are already marching towards being a social collaboration platform

These are just the trends based on where we are now. Technology and communication have endless possibilities that will unfold as we step forward.

Embrace the Future

From personal chats to enterprise solutions, chat applications are growing on boundless possibilities. Create an application that is unique and efficient when the time is right, with the help of Innoinstant. Innoinstant’s feature-rich chat APIs and SDKs pave the way for a captivating real-time chatting experience. Get ready to face the future with powerful and customizable communication solutions from Innoinstant. 


If you are looking to grow in the communication industry you need to start right. Innoinstant is one of the leading instant messaging solution providers to build an Instant Messaging application with compelling features and a secure environment. Innoinstant’s customizable features enable a seamless and powerful chat application.

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