Cerulean Studios has begun to offer some information about the next version of its popular cross-network IM tool, Trillian. The new version, called Trillian Astra, has a preview site and video now available that Jordan Running pointed us to first. Trillian lets users use one application to IM with people on a number of other IM systems.
This new version is going to see some big changes in a program with a large number of loyal users. The following are just a few of the newer things that the company says are coming in the newest version of the software. Trillian is for Windows only. Astra is currently in private alpha, we’re just excited to cover this first preview.
There’s a whole lot of innovation going on in IM right now and we plan on making an overview post on this space over the next few days, but this Astra preview is so hot we thought it deserved its own post.
We’ve embedded the company’s promotional video of the preview at the end of this post.
The application allows users to chat in Yahoo!, ICQ, AIM, Bonjour, Windows Live, Google Talk and now MySpace IM. The company says that MySpace IM integration has been the leading feature request for some time.
The new version allows users to select up to 5 files for simultaneous drag and drop file transfer; Trillian will automatically zip them up and send them as a zip file. Images can be dropped immediately into the window for file transfer as well.
Astra will be more accessible from multiple computers than ever before as well. The program will download your contact list every time you sign in to Astra at any computer.
Each user gets a personal Trillian Astra webpage with an integrated web chat widget that supports off-line messaging. You can also chose to turn off notification of web initiated chat sessions. Your Astra page can be filled with info about you from URLs you provide from social networking sites and widgets displaying your Flickr stream, songs you are listening to, local weather, etc. Those web pages sync will sync with your desktop client and will support personalization on a visitor by visitor basis – in other words, I can select whether I want to view your music, your weather, your blog’s feed, etc. The widgets will also support one click size maximization.
The desktop client will include an RSS news ticker, called the “knowledge bar,” that cycles through contextually relevant news items as determined by a client-side algorithm.
Astra will support TabletPC input so users can send handwritten messages by IM.
The new version will allow users to search through and filter their contact lists and friends’ avatars will be able to be displayed in a tile format. Finally, this new version promises to run faster and eliminate memory leaks.
All in all, a very impressive preview. If Cerulean can pull it all off, and there’s every reason to believe they can, then this is going to be one smoking product.