The End of Instant Messaging (As We Know It)

Those pop-up chat boxes are giving way to a new raft of tools that help Web surfers communicate in real time

It's the end of instant messaging as we know it. Those chat boxes once commonplace on a computer desktop amid documents, Web browsers, and spreadsheets are giving way to a new breed of user-friendly, real-time conversation tools that Internet companies hope will keep users engaged with their content—and the advertising that appears alongside it.

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