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Instant messaging goes graphical

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Instant messaging goes graphical

For most of the millions of people around the world who regularly use instant messaging, the communications tool has largely been a text-only experience in which typed emoticons offer only minimal clues to someone’s state of mind.

The recent launch of two services – a brand new, fully three-dimensional chat-room product known as IMVU, and AOL Instant Messenger’s new 3-D SuperBuddy icons – is putting the spotlight on a major shift by the leading IM providers toward making graphical avatars a fundamental personalization feature.

Today’s the Day. IMVU is the new service from Will Harvey, founder of There. Harvey is riffing on some of the core communications features he developed for There’s metaverse and devoting them to instant messaging. In IMVU, people talk to each other in 3-D chat rooms using avatars that display a wide range of emotional cues and do so through a client that is compatible with the leading IM applications.

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