Answering Machine Service for Your IM Account
Article by George Norman
On 12 Feb 2009
What happens when someone tries to get in touch with you, but you have fallen asleep and forgot to update your status or log out of your IM (instant messaging) account? When you wake up you will see a whole bunch of messages going something like “why aren’t you replying? I know you are online!”. Life would be a whole lot easier if you could somehow merge the usefulness of a traditional answering machine with your instant messaging client.

With answer.im, an online service that offers support for MSN, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, and Google Talk, you can set up your IM account to automatically provide answers to people that try to get in touch with you. The whole process is rather straightforward and incorporates only three steps:

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Step 1 – Visit the answer.im web page, select the IM client you have an account with and log in using your credentials.
Step 2 – Set up a status for you account, choose the text message that will be conveyed to incoming message.
Step 3 – Logout and shut down your machine confident in the fact that people who want to get in touch with you will be automatically served the message you set up. All the messages you get while your computer is shut down will be automatically redirected to the email address of your choice. If you do not want to provide an email address, the messages will not be lost, they will be stored by answer.im (click on Messages to see them).

The web service does not cost anything to use, which is a good thing, but there are some drawbacks. The first is the fact that your automatic reply message is limited to 256 words; the second is the fact that answer.im is currently in Beta and will keep your account active for about a day only (perhaps night would fit in better here).



Tags: answer.im, IM,MSN, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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