Trillian: The Champion of Chat Clients

Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo – all major software giants have a version of instant messenger. They are all free and have millions of loyal users. Many among of us have a problem with this picture. Our friends used to be scattered across all these IM platforms and there used to be an era where you’ll have to literally log into multiple apps to chat with your friends from various networks.

Trillian was the first multi platform chat client I encountered some eight years ago. It always had a free version and it has evolved a lot over all these years. Much has changed they way the app looks now and is way cooler than it used to be. Join me after the break to check out the newest avatar of Trillian.

Getting Started

As I noted earlier, Trillian is a free app. However, there always has been a pro version. From a flat fee, the developers have opted for a subscription model that costs $20 per year. Pay $60 in one go and avail a lifetime license though.

I noticed a funny check box in the installation wizard of Trillian. There was an option to actually not create an uninstall link in the Add or remove programs. It was checked off by default, which is a good thing, but, why have such an option in the first place?

Setting Up Chat Accounts

Setting Up Chat Accounts

Trillian always had a lot going for it. The app has great support for many different chat networks, including Facebook, Skype, Google, MSN, AIM, ICQ, XMPP, Yahoo!, and more. And, you can integrate all of them from a single screen. I connected my Live account and Facebook accounts in a few seconds.

Connecting with the World

Though widely known as a multi channel chat client, Trillian is much more than that. It helps you read mail, catch up with your feed and to communicate with your peers. The beauty is that the app manages to do all this in a neatly designed interface.

Mails, Contacts and IM Groups

Mails, Contacts and IM Groups

The USP of Trillian in my opinion is that you won’t feel overwhelmed. Irrespective of the number of accounts you add to the app, you’ll be able to keep track of all communications without feeling choked up. Every account and communication channel type has its own little section in the app. The unread count is updated in real time helping you sift through them as and when they arrive at your virtual doorstep.

A tabbed chat interface makes jumping between multiple chats quick and painless. For those with multiple devices, Trillian’s continuous chat feature is bound to be a godsend. So, if you start a chat on your desktop, you can pick it up where you left in your ipad instantly. Neat, isn’t it!

Social Integration

Trillian is a powerful social client for the desktop. Reading my Facebook feed and updates was pleasure and felt like I was using an official native client. Besides being able to chat with my friends in real time, commenting on updates and checking out friend requests were cool additions.

Facebook Integration

Facebook Integration

The notification bubbles weren’t very intrusive, but, if you are like me, turn them off instantly. The email integration is pretty basic and you can always stay on top of the unread count of your inbox. An inbuilt mail client would have resulted in bloat and kudos to the developers for keeping the app nimble.

Customization and Localization

What good is a chat client that doesn’t all us to go crazy? You can go nuts with the cool set of emoticons in stock. Also, you can skin your client to the mood with a handful of colorful themes in a couple of clicks. I gotta admit that every bit of the app is elegantly and tastefully designed.

Accessing Preferences

Accessing Preferences

You can customize the app to the hilt from a centralized preferences dashboard. While at it, you might also want to make Trillian speak your local language. User-created language packs and strong UTF-8 support help ensure a great experience in your native language.

Final Thoughts

Trillian is one of the pioneers of multi platform chat. There is absolutely no doubt that the app has gotten better over the years. The advent of social networks have made chat communication a thing past. But, real time chat is a very productive mode of communication and Trillian just ensures that you make the most of your connections.

After installation though, for a minute, just a minute, the revamped interface looked a lot like Digsby. But, unlike Digsby which fell out of favor for spreading crapware, Trillian has always been a safe client. It’s safe, secure and free. I got a warm, fuzzy feeling using Trillian after all these years. You should definitely give this legendary IM client a try, if you haven’t already!


Trillian is modern instant messaging for home and work that prioritizes chat interoperability and security.