ICQ was one of the most popular instant messaging networks. Today, you will probably have a hard time finding your friends on ICQ. Nevertheless, almost two year after the release of ICQ 6, ICQ just released a new version of its IM client. ICQ 7 now integrates updates from Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Delicious, Flickr and YouTube. ICQ plans to add support for more social networks in the near future.In its heyday,
ICQ 7 is only available for Windows. Mac users can rest assured that they are not missing out on much.
Social Networks on ICQ: Haphazard Integration
Sadly, ICQ doesn't excel at integrating any of these social networks. Facebook users, for example, can comment on status updates from their friends but there is no button to "like" an item. Interestingly, you can "like" your own updates but not those of your friends.
The Twitter client can display updates from all your friends on the service, but you filter this feed to just see @replies or direct messages, making ICQ 7 mostly useless as a Twitter client.
ICQ's PR material stresses that "users no longer need to open a browser and log into each and every network they're members in." For any meaningful interaction on these social networks, you still need to open up your browser, however.
One of the few positive aspects of ICQ's social network integration is that it allows you to post an update to all of these networks simultaneously.
One highly annoying aspect if ICQ 7's installation procedure is that - by default - the application wants to change your default search engine to ICQ Search and install the ICQ toolbar. While ICQ Search is an inoffensive retooling of Google Search, we would prefer the company be a bit more open about these changes. Currently, they are tucked away in the install dialog where users are likely to just click "next" instead of doing a close reading of the dialog's text.
Stay Away, Even If You are Feeling Nostalgic
Besides nostalgia, there aren't a lot of good reasons to install ICQ 7 at this point. The social networking integration is haphazard at best. As an instant messaging network, ICQ has clearly seen better days. In an age where good multi-network IM clients like Digsby, Pidgin, Meebo or Adium can easily connect you to all your friends on every network, there really isn't a need to install a single-purpose IM client anymore.