Lonely No More

very good
key review info
  • Application: QIP 2005 Build 8010
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by:
application features
  • QIP is an unique closed source computer program for immediate cross-Internet communication
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Communication tools are widely spread all over the world. It seems that our needs to communicate have grown so much that we had to move from the classic telephone to the modern mobile version; Internet provided the possibility of sending messages via email, instant messaging softwares or VoIP. GPS on mobile phones, IM and VoIP on computers, file sharing, video specialized websites, these are all part of our life now. I remember when I was a little kid and fantasized about a walkie-talkie and how cool it seemed to me.

Now I have mp3 players, Yahoo! IM, GTalk, P2P softwares, Internet TV and GPS on my phone, games that support message exchange between teamplayers etc. That's a long way I've walked. And the result is that I cannot have a moment of peace unless I turn them all off.

People no longer date like they used to. Everything is done from your computer, even sex. The myriad of online dating possibilities provided by the specially designed websites can offer you a preview of what's to come and you can change your mind about a person by simply adding the name in the “ignore” list. Pretty weird world we're living in, but you gotta love it.

And for some time now there is QIP (Quiet Internet Pager) that is using ICQ (I seek you) numbers in order to connect its users. It can be used in various ways due to its searching capabilities. This instant messaging tool is absolutely free, just like all the others out there and can be used as long as you have an ICQ account.

The interface needs a little retouching in order to bring it to today's graphic standards MSN or Yahoo! accustomed us to. Nevertheless, it is extremely functional and it allows you to search for your friends and add them to your lists with no problem; the messages are run through a public server and there are no advertisements displayed.

One little nag when working with the main window is that you cannot resize it horizontally and only vertical stretch is possible. It can be pinned to the desktop so that it stays above all the other windows you open. Just like most of the IM tools available, QIP too can send and receive offline messages and privacy options are also available.

These can be opened by clicking on the main menu bar at the bottom of the main window and choosing privacy Lists or by selecting the fourth button in the toolbar (between History and Sound buttons). There are three tabs available: Visible List, Invisible List and Ignore List. Just type the ICQ numbers in the box and press add button.

Message history works by simply adding the ICQ#/SN and all the conversation with that contact will be displayed. A useful feature is Find Text bar that will help you find the phrase or word you are looking for in an instant. Saving the message in a TXT file is also available, so no more copy/pasting in a text editor.

The context menu of the main window gives the user the possibility of creating different groups and searching for contacts or for new friends to add in the list. If you happen to have a very extensive list of buddies then you will definitely appreciate the find tool provided by QIP. All you have to do is type in the nickname, cellular/ICQ# or email and the matching friend will be displayed instantly.

But the main attraction of this instant messaging tool is its ability to search by user-defined criteria through the entire database. You can talk with people all over the world with no restriction (unless they add you into their Ignore List). The accounts are available at icq.com where you can see pictures and descriptions of ICQ users.

The Add/Find Users window contains four tabs, each of them offering a different search possibility. The first one provides a simple search and users can be tracked by ICQ#, email, ICQ UIN or by name. If there are no satisfactory results here, move to Global Directory where criteria like gender, age, country, marital status, keywords, occupation etc., can be applied. Next tab is called People Search and here the finding can be done by email, name/nickname, country, gender, age or language. Advanced search options include finding people affiliated to certain chat groups like Romance, Games, 50 Plus, 20 Something or Students.

The message window is equipped with all the elements you need to send fast and colorful messages. Changing text color and font can be achieved and emoticons are available (although the choices are not too many and you have only 42 emoticons at your disposal). But there are some elements that make your communication more secure. The first one is the adding of a password to the messages. This means that if the user at the other end does not have the password further messages won't be readable. Both users have to have the same countersign typed in the appropriate window (the last button above the text typing window).

Another element is that you can wipe the entire conversation from the screen. And if you want nobody to find out who you were badmouthing then consider clearing the conversation from Message History as well.

File transferring is done with a cost: the one you are transferring the files to will be able to see your IP. The feature is disabled by default but you can enable it from Preferences menu under General and you can also specify the ports to be listened on.

Sending messages is somehow hindered by one thing only: you cannot send it by simply pressing the Enter key. The shortcuts for this action are either Ctrl+Enter or Alt+S and they are in the QIP unchangeable shortcut list. This is a bit difficult as most users are used to sending the messages using a single key. However, there is a little button in the message window (on the bottom row) that will allow you to use the simple Enter to send the messages.

Preferences window is extensive enough to allow making all the settings for the software. This is where you can add your status messages. These are not in plain view for the other users and in order to learn it they will have to use the “Read Status Message” option. There is an option that allows you to see whenever a user is using this option and it is called All Seeing Eye. There is a little problem with it though as I have it checked for disable and whenever I do the test with a different ICQ# I am still alerted that the user is reading my status message. Restarting the application won't do much for the matter.

The Anti-Spam/Flood option can protect you from unwanted messages and a little control over the messages you receive can be obtained. Thus you can enable accepting messages only from the users in the contact list and restrict the acceptance of URLs.

The funny thing about QIP is that you can add the users in the ICQ database with no problem and even without the authorization of the user. Despite the authorization required from the other end of the line you can add that person to the contact list and exchange message with no hindrance whatsoever.

The Good

The application is free and very easy to use. All you need to do is read the tooltips of the buttons. QIP gives you access to a very large community of users and communication cannot be hindered except for the lack of Internet connection.

The password messaging (if both users are using QIP) and the deleting of the message board are definitely advantages you do not come across too often.

The users have the possibility of removing themselves from the list of an unwanted interlocutor.

The search results show you which users are online and which are not.

The Bad

The authorization for letting a user add you to the contact list is not working as I expected (I thought that without my authorization the other user cannot add me; something like Yahoo! IM similar feature).

File sending results in the receiver to be able to see your IP.

No help file.

The Truth

QIP is an excellent alternative to instant messaging and opens the door to a huge community of users. Also, you can initiate talking to anybody in the database and the search criteria available will give very accurate results. It just needs a little polishing of the rough edges.

Use it for a week or two and you will never feel lonely again.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good