Synapse is a Jabber-only based messaging client designed to look good as well as work well.
Whilst many current IM clients support jabber (Such as Pidgin and Gnome’s Empathy) Synapse makes no bones about the fact they only support XMPP/Jabber/GTalk.
The developers are keen to explore support for what they deem ‘legacy’ protocols such as MSN, Yahoo etc, but if you have plenty of GTalk contacts it still makes a very enjoyable chatting experience! In fact, you can log in with your GMail details and chat to any GTalk contacts straight away!
It also packs in a slightly intimidating amount of features for a pre-alpha release including, but not limited to: –
Web Previews – When a contact sends a link for a website, see a thumbnail of what you’re going to be clicking to before you click!
Activity Feeds – Synapses’ Activity Feeds mesh a world of online social updates into one “unified view”. Twitter tweets, IM status, what your contact is listening to,
Drag n’ drop support for images, text, links allow you to easily share your online life with your contacts.
Jaunty Notification support
Grid View – This is genius! GENIUS! Synapse presents your contacts as a grid of small thumbnails. No more sorting through long lists or endless scrolling to find that contact. Status, nicknames and other info is elegantly displayed as you mouse over their image.
It also lets you grab display pictures from flickr using a built in search box and turn a instant message or status into a tweet by simply supplying your twitter details!
The chat window interface mimics that of Apple’s iChat to an extent – complete with speech bubbles and small avatar representations of each participant.
Whilst it does only support XMPP/GTalk – meaning most of your contacts are on what Synapse deem ‘legacy’ systems such as AIM or MSN, Synapse presents itself as a dedicated alternative for Gtalk and other Jabber use.
Too many IM clients are trying to be everything to everyone and this is largely where they start to stall development wise. Pidgin, for example, has issues implimenting webcam and audio chat because of all the different protocols it supports. The same issues surround the “still in development” aMSN 2 and Emesene 2 ‘Mesinyer’. Synapse succeeds so well because it doesn’t try to placate everyone.
You can download the pre-release of Synapse from the official site:
[For Ubuntu/Linux purists please note that Synapse is a mono application]