Let's face it, we'll all have too many email accounts, social networking registrations and IM clients - so how about a super software to combine the lot?
Multi-client specialist Trillian has just announced the first public beta of 'Astra', a do-it-all IM software that has taken more than three years of development and provides a truly staggering array of social networking and communications support. I can't really get my point across without making a list, so here it goes:
AOL Instant Messenger, Bonjour, Facebook, GTalk, ICQ, IRC, Jabber, MySpace, Skype, Twitter, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and even POP and IMAP email accounts. In fact only LinkedIn is a noticeable absence (or Orkut if you're Brazilian...).
The design is clever too with a sectioned horizontal interface grouping similar services, choice of minimalist or fully featured layouts, tabbed conversation windows and a 'Knowledge Bar' which is essentially a grouped RSS feed. Old favourites seen elsewhere such as the automatic linking of words to Wikipedia is useful too while there's even a pen-mode interface for those using Tablet PCs. Furthermore, an iPhone version is in the pipeline.
Beta invitations are available now but for currently only a Windows edition is being launched. You will also need to be either a Trillian Pro user or have purchased a 'token' - a rather silly idea to me for a company hoping to attain widespread feedback and attract new customers.
That said, if you want a client which can keep up with even the most unhealthy of social networking habits this looks the best bet yet...