In This Chapter
Setting up an account
Finding people to chat with
Chatting via text, audio, and video
Sharing pictures, files, and screens with iChat Theater
Taking a look at other chat programs
The idea behind instant messaging is that you can communicate with someone over the Internet using text, audio, or even video — and it's all free. (Well, it's sort of free, when you ignore the fact that you're paying your broadband Internet provider a pretty penny every month so you can access the Internet.)
Now you can swap messages with your friends, chat in real time across the planet, and even see each other through live video windows while you speak. Instant messaging offers another way for you to communicate with anyone in the world using an Internet connection and your Mac.
By using your Mac's iChat program you can conduct basic text chat messages with others instantly. And iChat also makes integrating live video, audio, and sharing files with others you connect to practically as easy as chatting over the telephone.
If you have an existing instant messaging chat account with one of the following services, you're ready to set up iChat and start chatting in a matter of minutes. If you don't have a chat account, you need to set up an account with at least one of the following services:
MobileMe: Formerly known as .Mac, you can create a free 60-day trial MobileMe account ($99 per year). If you later decide ...