Instant messaging has brought an effective and efficient real-time, text-based communication to the Internet community. In addition, most instant messaging applications provide extra functions such as file transfer, contact lists, and the ability to have simultaneous conversations, which strengthens the reliance of wider sectors of users on these applications. In this project we explore the various attempts to create a unified standard for instant messaging in conjunction with a language translator designed specifically for the three most common languages in Nigeria (Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo). We show the efforts of organizations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in this regard, in addition to some proprietary solutions. We also shed some light on the different types of protocols that are used to implement instant messaging applications. Furthermore, the practical uses of instant messaging are highlighted alongside the benefits that will be reaped by organizations adopting the technology. We dedicate some parts of this project to review current and future research in the field. Various research trends and directions are discussed to show the impact of instant messaging on users, businesses and the decision making process.
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