In 2016, over 2.5 billion people used at least one messaging app. That’s one-third of the world’s entire population, with users ranging from your grandmother to your younger brother. Today, it’s commonplace for offices to use a messaging app for internal communication in order to coordinate meetings, share pitch decks, and plan happy hours. And with the latest bot technology, chat apps are becoming a hub for employees to do work in their apps without leaving the chat console.
For many people, chat apps are a given part of their workday. But how did they become so popular?
Instant Messaging: Child of the 90’s
Chat apps (and their siblings, chat rooms) may bring to mind images of the 1990s, with its dial-up internet and classic sitcoms, but commercial chat apps date back to the 1980s. CompuServe released CB Simulator in 1980, and 1985 brought the launch of Commodore’s Quantum Link (also known as Q-Link). An online service, it allowed multi-user chat, email, file sharing, and games.
If Q-Link sounds familiar, that’s because it is: in 1991, the company changed its name to America Online (AOL). But AOL wouldn’t launch its signature product, AOL Instant Messe