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Surprisingly, the history of live chat software dates back to the s.

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From its conception almost fifty years ago, live chat has risen and risen to the point of ubiquity. Real-time digital chat is now everywhere, infused in the way we communicate and transact business.


The chat phenomenon all began with a university side-project. It comprised of an open text document that anyone could edit and add comments to. Doug came up with the idea of a program that would allow group chats. In other words, a chat room.

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David Woolley then worked with Doug to expand Talkomatic. Talkomatic chats could host up to five people, and the chats happened in real-time. That is, you could watch your fellow chatters type their messages, letter-by-letter. This marked the birth of real-time chat.

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Talkomatic was so popular that it inspired the addition of an official chat function to the PLATO system. This was known as Term-talk. Much in the same way as pressing your chat button from any of a website today. Unlike chatroom-esque Talkomatic, Term-talk conversations happened between only two people.

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The program allowed you to get in touch with a specific person on the PLATO system, and you could continue your activity while chatting. So, this idea of one-on-one instant chat made Term-Talk the earliest form of live chat software as we would recognise it today.

As such, it marks the true beginning of the history of live chat software. Over the s, chat platforms — mostly in the form of chatrooms — started to grow. Of note in the history of live chat software, though, the 80s saw a key development.

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This was the first dedicated chat service for wider public use — ever. At the time, the concepts of multi-user chat and instant messaging were alien. But people did know of citizens band CB radio.

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That is, the familiar paradigm of CB radio helped introduce the concepts of multi-user chat and instant messaging. In other words, CB Simulator helped introduce the public to real-time chat.

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This changed life as we knew it. More specifically for our purposes here, it had a titanic impact on the history of live chat software.

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The introduction and creation of the internet vastly broadened the horizons of real-time chat capability. Anyone with web access could chat with another web user — no matter where in the world they were. This was a set of rules that, no matter where you hailed from, you understood about polite conduct during online chat. By the end of the 90s, instant messaging programs had entered the fray.

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These channels served to boost the popularity of the new form of communication. In business, the move from water-cooler chat to digital chat happened at the turn of the millennium. At this point in the history of live chat software, people had grown familiar with the concept of instant web-based chat. Our own WhosOn was one of these early-millennium business-chat tools.

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Inwe launched WhosOn, allowing businesses to see who was visiting their websites. And byWhosOn gained live chat functionality.

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Real-time chatting merged with the rise of smartphones to become a core aspect of our daily lives. Live chat software, by this point, had become commonplace across the world wide web. Then, between and we saw the phenomenon of the chatbot hype.

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That is, the rise and excitement around automated chat. And so chatbots became part of the history of live chat software, as they started to integrate into the tried, tested and popular live chat channels. The history of live chat software ends on the present day, where chat software is a staple element across business websites.

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Now, live chat software is evolving to embrace omnichannel support. Advanced solutions now integrate with phoness, apps and social media in one seamless conversation engine. Plus, as artificial intelligence continues to rise, the chatbots making a home in live chat channels stand to become much more helpful.

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Live chat software started its journey almost 50 years ago. The history of live chat software was bright. The future of live chat software stands to be brighter still.

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