Some companies blocked some application that are related to instant messaging service, like Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Pidgin, Kopete (parts of KDE) etc. They think that this application can reduce their employee's productivity since their focus sometimes gets distracted by other people (sometimes it helps also, when you needed some help, you can just easily send a message to your friend and you could get instant reply).
Since those application relies on known ports, sometimes it's easy to block those applications on the proxy server. Do people gave up? No way...
Their quest to find a simple solution has come up with some web-based instant messaging service. Since it's web-based, most companies will allow their employees to browse the web, meaning that you can use this opportunity to get in touch with your friends again. There are several websites that offered this service for free, like Yahoo's Web Messenger and Meebo.
So far, Yahoo's Web Messenger has done great job to mimic their Yahoo Messenger and transform it into web-based application, but the problem is that it requires faster Internet connection to load the initial application. I often failed to login and finally i left it.
Meebo is an alternative if you want to use other than Yahoo Messenger's protocol. It supports MSN, AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, and Jabber. Meebo seems to fix fast Internet connection requirements for me, but when i tried to logged in, i only find partial of my contact list. I don't know why, but i do have lots of contact lists (perhaps more than 600 peoples).
Another service comes up, called IMO. It's been around since 2007 i guess, but i just noticed it today as i got an email from one of their developer (or Marketing people, i'm not sure). Here's what i got from Ashley Hoffmann about IMO:
IMO is a web-based instant messaging service where you can instant message and video chat with your friends on AIM, Google Talk, MSN, and Yahoo Messenger. IMO has also created a version of imo for the desktop. Now you can choose to have imo start up and sign you in automatically when you turn on your computer, all without having to open a web browser. The service also offers a Facebook application, which allows you to IM and video chat with friends on Facebook.It's still tagged alpha for now, but so far, it worked nicely. I can login to my Yahoo accounts very fast and it can list all of my friends. It only shows people who are marked online (not including the invisible) and the rest will fall into offline categories. On the chat dialog, there's a link that can be used to start webcam, but since i don't have any webcam, i couldn't try it.
Unlike Meebo, you can login to multiple accounts at once using IMO. You will have the same interface and there will be an option to link the accounts to join the contact list on one single window (nice isn't it?). To sign off, just untick the account name and you're off. Very simple. You also have the option to sign of from all of your accounts.
While IMO still lacks lots of feature compared to Yahoo Web Messenger, it does provide a very good basis for further development and i'm looking forward to see their updates on this application (i wish for conference support).
You're good at coding? Well, you can join their projects and help them improve this nice application.