The written conversation evolved during the 17th century with a culture of prolific pen pals, but aside from the telegram, major advancements were sparse until 1994, when AOL's new chat-room feature went viral. Any intelligent discussion soon made way for the cybersex community, and AOL's Instant Messenger took center stage as the first mass IM interface. With nom de chats, we could float in and out of conversations anonymously, until Google came along to restore the order. The groundbreaking Gmail arrived in 2004, finally organizing our digital conversations with a sleek design and easy search features. Then, our friends popped up on the left rail of our inboxes. It was miraculous. It was an affront to the carefully penned e-mail agenda. It was GChat. Google added the service to the Gmail inbox in 2006, and the rest is history (archived in our inboxes).
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