We reviewed Meebo and found an IM (instant-messaging) service that had the feature set of a desktop IM client, but the convenience of web-based instant messaging.

No web-based instant-messaging application can exactly replicate the experience of using a desktop software client - in the case of Meebo, that may be a good thing.

Meebo is a web-based instant-messaging service that offers most of the features your IM desktop application does, without requiring you to download any extra software.

Meebo has a sleek interface, provides access to most IM networks you're likely to need, and lets you start using it within seconds of firing up the web page.

From its home page at Meebo.com, Meebo offers access to AOL's AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and MSN Messenger instant-messaging services. (Meebo also lets you connect via iChat, ICQ, and Jabber, although it doesn't link to them directly from the home page.) To connect to an IM service, you simply enter your existing screen name and password in the spaces provided. You can connect simultaneously to as many services as you'd like.

You then jump to a personalised Meebo page that tells you which services you're connected to. Your buddy list appears in a window on the right side of the page; if you're connected to more than one service, Meebo merges all of your buddy lists into one. Each buddy is marked with an icon denoting which service the person is using. When you click to send a message, Meebo automatically connects you to the compatible service.

Instant messages appear in pop-up windows on the Meebo page. You can undock both the buddy list window and the message window from the Meebo page, which makes it look and feel more as if you were using a desktop application. (You'll have to disable your pop-up blocker to do so.) But if you navigate away from the Meebo.com page, your IM session will terminate.

Web-based IM service reviews: Meebo, Kool IM, Imhaha, RadiusIM