Instant Messaging: Big Success, Little Payoff

Quicker than E-mail, instant messaging is red-hot

Not everyone in the city planning department of Albany, Ga., has E-mail. But all 20 of the department's personal computer users have ICQ. Short for I Seek You, the free program from Israeli startup Mirabilis Ltd. lets them exchange messages instantly over the Internet--faster than regular E-mail. Colleagues use it to trade drafting files and stay in touch on the road. Says city project manager Jack Hierholzer: "It's more immediate than E-mail, and it's a lot less intrusive than a phone call."

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