October 31, 2005 in 4 out of 5 stars, A piece of software, Free, Productivity

What is it?

Trillian: Per the website:

"Trillian is a fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC. It provides capabilities not possible with original network clients, while supporting standard features such as audio chat, file transfers, group chats, chat rooms, buddy icons, multiple simultaneous connections to the same network, server-side contact importing, typing notification, direct connection (AIM), proxy support, encrypted messaging (AIM/ICQ), SMS support, and privacy settings.

Without stealing your home page and with no other included software, pop-ups, or spyware, Trillian provides unique functionality such as contact message history, a powerful skinning language, tabbed messaging, global status changes (set all networks away at once), Instant Lookup (automatic Wikipedia integration), contact alerts, an advanced automation system to trigger events based on anything happening in the client, docking, hundreds of emoticons, emotisounds, shell extensions for file transfers, and systray notifications."


Who makes it?

Cerulean Studios

Why is it the killerest?

I'm a Professional Virtual Assistant, and maintaining contact with my clients, and potential clients visiting my site, is critical to my success.  Trillian is an easy-to-use piece of software which allows me to manage all of my chat systems via one sleek interface.  No more multiple multiple windows and logins to Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, MSN & ICQ--Trillian handles everything for me!

When I'm "away," I can change my Trillian status message to show that I'm away on all of my chat systems.  Trillian also shows me the status of my e-mail accounts, and allows me to rename the screen names of my contacts.

A gorgeous piece of free software that helps me kill, every day!

How much does it cost?

Free - one of my favorite 4-letter words!


Reviewed by Lori Davis

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I know trillian has a free and pro version, and there are some important things missing in the free version. Gaim ( ) does a pretty good job of almost everything that trillian does except for skinning, shell integration, and some file transfer (which is going to be fixed soon). I've used Trillian Basic and Gaim, and I'm sticking with Gaim.

Posted by: coreb | Oct 31, 2005 10:18:17 AM

Hey Coreb, thanks for the additional information.

Posted by: Carson McComas | Oct 31, 2005 10:23:50 AM

Another killer thing about Trillian is the (unauthorized) Trillian Anywhere version, which allows you to carry Trillian anywhere with you from a USB drive. Check out the site at (I am not affiliated with the site, by the way).

Posted by: Kurt Settles | Oct 31, 2005 11:31:30 AM

I always found Trillian to be a little bloated. I recommend giving Miranda IM a shot from It has most of Trillian's functionality, minus the unecessary and bloat.

Posted by: Richard Dunlop-Walters | Nov 1, 2005 5:19:09 AM

Trillian 3's IRC plugin is still pretty poor - they rewrote it after Trillian 2 and they've yet to add some really basic features (like double clicking in a channel and getting options like setting the topic).

That said, I don't like IRC anyway. Trillian overall makes instant messaging manageable, I dunno where I'd be without it. I do however still get a fair few problems, with some MSN messages not getting through properly. So it's not faultless.

Posted by: Cyrris | Nov 3, 2005 12:38:52 AM

Ok, great comments everyone, downgrading this to 4 stars (which still aint bad, but sounds like Trillian isn't 5 star material just yet).

Posted by: Carson McComas | Nov 3, 2005 7:31:44 AM

Trillian is great... except I can't import my MSN contacts.
It gets everything else though.

I may try Gaim as coreb suggested. Thanks

Posted by: ~Dawn | Nov 6, 2005 5:03:42 PM

Looks like Trillian hates MAC.

Posted by: Pauly D | Nov 7, 2005 8:39:42 AM

I use gaim, not as pretty as trillian but lots more functionality. File transferors work fine for me. I liked miranda a lot but now that I'm not on windows I no longer use it. There are also some nice Linux applications, like Kopete, which support features like custom MSN emotions.

Posted by: Niomi | Nov 16, 2005 9:27:01 AM

Ohh, Trillian indeed "imports" MSN-contacts very well. Since contacts are stored on MSN-server, Trillian can actually retrieve this list.

I accidentially deleted an entire group of MSN-contacts in Trillian (with no warning actually!) , but when I logged on MSN Messenger (I promise I won't swear again), the list of contacts still existed. So I logged on the MSN-network using Trillian and there they were again.

I can do nothing but recommend Trillian - if you don't need to bring it with you on and USB-stick or the like.

Posted by: Techek | Aug 30, 2006 1:21:20 PM

Please, help me! In my msn I have a lot of contacts, but when I open trillian, there are no contacts. What should I do?

Posted by: pleasehelp | Jan 8, 2007 2:35:38 AM