Every now and then, you come across a piece of software that genuinely surprises. Normally, the thing that surprises us about such pieces of software is what it does: features and functionalities. QQ Messenger doesn’t really do anything new. It doesn’t contain any particularly ground breaking features. It’s an instant messaging client. What’s surprising about QQ is that its network has over 1 billion registered accounts… and unless you’re in contact with China, you probably never heard of it.
Depending on who you believe, QQ is either the #1 or the #3 most popular instant messaging client on the internet. It’s published by QQ.com, which in turn has an Alexa rank of 11. And yes, the fact that this is such a popular app is what makes it so important.
Apart from the fairly generic functions that you’d expect in any IM client, QQ does pack a few features which you won’t find in either Yahoo’s or Microsoft’s offerings. For example: QQ allows you to resume an interrupted download when you’re sharing files with friends. That may not sound particularly exciting but if you consider the stability of networks in parts of China and plenty of other countries, you’ll see that it’s actually essential. Another cool feature included with QQ is a nifty little screen grab tool which you can use while chatting. It even lets you make small screencasts: great for anyone who’s constantly helping friends out with their PCs.
But does that make QQ an MSN killer? Well the answer is: possibly. QQ is already a better designed and more up-to-date client than MSN. What QQ needs is a way to convince Messenger users to jump ship. One way this could be done would be by interacting with the MSN network: I don’t think that would work. But some promotion on American and European websites could well have a major impact.