Ask LazyWeb: Modern-day IRC replacement?

So, there was a time, where if I wanted several someones to get together to chat, I’d find an IRC
server and start a channel, and that would be that. Of course, at that time, pretty much everyone I knew was a reasonably hard-core geek (or was friends with one), and had a shell account. 

I know that there are these modern-day things like GUI IRC clients and Facebook chat and whatnot. Let’s assume an IRC server won’t work (mostly because I don’t want to run one, and don’t want to invite a bunch of neophytes to other peoples’ servers). Real-time multi-person Facebook chat is kind of painful (and besides, a lot of people are running hither and yon with fear regarding the new chat app).

What’s a group of people to do, who are looking for the following:

  • Real-time text chat.
  • The ability to have it reasonably private (the equivalent of +ln in IRC, perhaps?)
  • Probably via a web interface, though something that had clients for Mac / Windows / mobile wouldn’t suck

Basically, we wanna be able to sit around and talk, and have people wander in and out, or camp, or … well, you know. IRC.

Once upon a time, there were AIM chat rooms. But, at the time I was using them, they were super-s33kr1t employee-only sort of things, and required a call to a very annoyed person in the NOC to create and/or reset when they went haywire (which they did with some frequency). Did they ever roll that out as a product?

Y’all are going to point me to gtalk / gchat / Google Hangouts, aren’t you? Do they even do text-versions of that? Or multi-people text versions?

Anyway, I’d love to hear what the Hivemind has to say.


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