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Once one of the most popular instant messaging applications, ICQ remains a popular chat program that allows users to communicate over the Internet via text, voice, or video chat.
ICQ is available for free on most major operating systems and mobile devices. While once restricted to text-based messaging, ICQ—like many other instant messaging programs—now allows users to open audio and video links with their contacts, easily share files, and connect to their favorite social networks.
Though ICQ retains a fairly large number of dedicated users, it has largely been replaced by more popular messaging apps such as Viber, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. This is particularly true in the US and UK; however, ICQ continues to be popular in Eastern Europe and Russia.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use ICQ to call anyone?
ICQ, like most messaging apps, provides free audio-chatting. On a computer, this typically involves using a microphone and headset, but using a smartphone this works just like a regular phone call. Using ICQ, you can make calls to anyone else who is using the software, provided you both have the program running. You cannot call actual phone numbers, such as someone’s cell phone or landline. Some messaging clients, most notably Skype, allow their users to make calls to phone numbers, but there is usually an additional fee required to do so.
Can I use ICQ to talk to members on other messaging platforms?
The ICQ client can only be used to communicate with other ICQ users. While there have been some efforts over the years to create “universal” messaging apps that allow users to chat with friends on multiple instant messaging networks, these are typically not offered by the messaging networks themselves and only support a limited number of messaging networks. Smartphones have led to an explosion of messaging apps offering their own network and unique set a services, which are largely proprietary and cannot be used via any other program. Some, however, do allow universal chat programs to connect to their network; however, the set of features available is typically limited. If you are considering using a universal messaging program, make sure it supports the messaging networks you use most often.