Many applications allow file transfers, although they are usually limited in the permissible file-size.
It is usually possible to save a text conversation for later reference.
Modern, Internet-wide, GUI-based messaging clients as they are known today, began to take off in the mid-1990s with Pow Wow, ICQ, and AOL Instant Messenger.
Similar functionality was offered by CU-See Me in 1992; though primarily an audio/video chat link, users could also send textual messages to each other. Meanwhile, other companies developed their own software; (Excite, MSN, Ubique, and Yahoo!
In many cases, instant messaging includes added features which can make it even more popular.
For example, users may see each other via webcams, or talk directly for free over the Internet using a microphone and headphones or loudspeakers.
Initially, some of these systems were used as notification systems for services like printing, but quickly were used to facilitate communication with other users logged into the same machine.
As networks developed, the protocols spread with the networks. talk, ntalk and ytalk), while others required peers to connect to a server (see talker and IRC).
Instant messaging (IM) is a type of online chat that offers real-time text transmission over the Internet.
A LAN messenger operates in a similar way over a local area network.
The Zephyr Notification Service (still in use at some institutions) was invented at MIT's Project Athena in the 1980s to allow service providers to locate and send messages to users.