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Directi launches cross-platform instant messenger Talk.to in beta; A comparison with eBuddy, others

The Directi Group, a group of businesses developing mass-market web products, has launched Talk.to, a cross-platform instant messenger that enables users to communicate across multiple accounts and platforms in real time.

With this app, users can directly sign in (no additional sign-up for Talk.to is required) to their Facebook, Google Talk and Pingpong (a chat service for teams/businesses and powered by Talk.to) accounts and chat with all their contacts from a single platform. The contacts are differentiated with G, F and P signs for Google, Facebook and Pingpong accounts, respectively. Users will also get real-time delivery and read receipts (across all accounts) for their sent messages. Plus, they can read past messages as the chat history is saved automatically.

As of now, the app is ad-free and the company claims that it will always remain so, which is a good thing since ads are usually introduced once the app becomes popular.

In a bid to reach out to a bigger audience, Directi has launched both mobile and desktop apps. Currently, its mobile apps are available on the Android and the iOS platforms, but the site mentions that Windows and BlackBerry apps will follow soon. Right now, the desktop app is available only for Windows – compatible with Windows XP or later versions.

Although the company is planning to launch an app for the Mac, in the meantime, users can download a Google Chrome app (compatible with Crome 14 or later) and still use Talk.to. But first, one has to download the Google Chrome browser on his/her PC (in case you don’t have it).

The app is free of cost and can be downloaded from here.

A few other apps offering the same features include Trillian and eBuddy. We compared the mobile apps of all three, taking into account a number of features such as user interface (UI), accounts offered, response speed and additional features, and here are the results:

User Interface (UI): Hands down winner is Talk.to. It has kept the app totally clutter-free (especially because there are no ads). And the way the data have been featured (contact lists, chats, accounts, etc.) also look sleek and smart. In contrast, both Trillian and eBuddy support ads inside the app and are not much to look at.

Accounts offered:

Speed: When tested on a Vodafone 3G connection, the notification lag for incoming messages and the response speed for outgoing messages were almost identical for all the three apps. But if we have to name one, we would say eBuddy was slightly faster than the other two. However, Talk.to had the upper hand once again in terms of message display.

Additional features: With Trillian, users can also do a Trillian-to-Trillian messaging, which means it also doubles up as a WhatsApp messenger. Users can also share pictures on IM and Facebook with the app.

eBuddy, on the other hand, allows users to do group chatting in addition to setting avatars and sending TextArts (designs made with the help of symbols).

Talk.to does not offer much as of now, but the app is still in the beta phase and the company claims that these features are only part of the initial phase. In the not-too-distant future, it will also add free SMS, voice chat, video, group chats, group SMS and file sharing, in addition to support for Windows Live Messenger, Jabber and other popular IM services.

But with so many IM/chat clients already available and new ones launching every other day (we have recently wrote about Hike and WeChat and you can read about them here and here, is there space for one more?

We pitched the question to Bhavin Turakhia, founder and CEO of Directi, and he said, “While there are a number of clients catering to different requirements, there isn’t a single platform that covers everything (SMS, IM, as well as Facebook and Google Talk, etc.). And it doesn’t matter how many messaging solutions exist out there. If users find value in a product offering, they will definitely use it.”

Note that there is another app called TalkTo, but that one only allows consumers to interact with businesses.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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