VelvetPuffin offers Web-based IM client

VelvetPuffin, a Web service that provides instant messaging and content sharing, this week is unveiling a new feature that allows users to access it from any desktop computer without downloading software.

The new QuickLaunch feature gives users access to VelvetPuffin online and allows them to close the browser and use the IM client as a desktop application with a task-bar icon and real-time alerts, said Radixs Pte., which offers the service.

"You sign in using the browser, and the client loads within the browser itself," said R. Chandrasekar, CEO of Radixs. "It is a crossover between the Web and the desktop -- you get the anytime, anywhere access [of the Web] and the functionality of the desktop."

Whereas other Web-based IM applications such as Meebo, Yahoo IM and AIM do not provide message alerts when the browser is minimized, QuickLaunch will allow users to close their browsers and still access all of VelvetPuffin's features, he added. That way, users can communicate with their buddies even if they're on a computer that doesn't have the VelvetPuffin desktop application downloaded.

QuickLaunch has a Java component and uses Adobe Systems Inc.'s Flash Player 9 as its application engine, Chandrasekar said. It relies on C ++ code to link the Java and Flash components and allow for connectivity after the browser is closed. VelvetPuffin is launched automatically each time a user's computer starts.

In addition to IM, VelvetPuffin allows users to search and view videos from YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe and VelvetPuffin and share photos with buddies. It also allows user to aggregate IM accounts from AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Google Talk and MySpace IM.

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