Digsby is one of the newer ways to communicate with friends and colleagues across different protocols. It has been available to the world for around a year or so. Unlike the somewhat disappointing and overly long in alpha or in beta Trillian the builds or versions appear quickly and work pretty well.
Digsby requires a separate sign up to keep track of your different logins and accounts. Some privacy concerns are obvious here but are addressed as best as possible on a ‘Security Practices’ page. Over all a good product with responsive support and continuous development, at least at the time of this writing.
The protocols supported are as follows AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, ICQ, and Jabber in the IM department; Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL/AIM Mail, IMAP, and POP for email checking and notification; and Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn for social network updates and their respective chats. One of the most interesting aspects is a publicly accessible Wishlist that includes stats and votes to prioritize user input. Some of the current highly rated wishes are multi-person conversations and plug-in support. Of note is that audio and/or video chat is not natively supported but the program launches Tokbox, which can be accessed within the conversation by clicking the video button, where a new window to the TokBox service is generated and is accessible via a link to the friend at the other end of the conversation.
First start requires signing up for the aforementioned account and adding the respective protocol logins (see image below). One very user friendly feature of Digsby that should be mentioned is that if a conversation is minimized any new arriving message is not only viewable via a small popup near the bottom of the screen but it is also possible to reply using only that popup without maximizing the program. Very handy for keeping distractions to a minimum.
Digsby is freeware but the developers readily admit to the need for a revenue model and are trying to keep it to unobtrusive measures like a Yahoo toolbar and that may even be an opt-in at installation. Check out the complete feature list here. It is currently available for Windows but as many of the other Wishlist items Mac and Linux versions are coming soon. Sign up here to get notified and perhaps further encourage the work they are doing to make those versions.