In computing terminology, a messenger service can be one of two things. One is a service, or client, that is designed to send alerts out over a network such as an office or university network so users are aware of important information. The other is a client that allows people to engage in instant messaging with other people who have compatible clients. Messenger services are widely used all over the world for a variety of purposes.
Many networks use a messenger service that can be accessed by administrators for sending out information. Administrators can send out important updates about the network itself, such as warnings about scheduled services, reminders to change passwords, and so forth. The service can also be used to deliver office-wide messages. An advantage to such services that people need to confirm receipt to close the window, ensuring that everyone in the office will see the message.
One problem with messenger services designed for networks is that they can be exploited by spammers. Some creative spam companies have used such services to deliver spam messages to network users. When well crafted, such messages can be very deceptive and may trick users into disclosing confidential information or engaging in activities that might compromise the network. Disabling the messenger service can eliminate this problem, but it also means that a replacement for delivering system-wide messages will need to be found or developed.
With instant messaging, people send messages back and forth to each other over the messenger service. There are many messaging services available, including free programs that people can download. As long as someone has the same client or a program that is designed to handle multiple client protocols at once, he or she can participate in instant messaging. These services offer a number of privacy and security options to users and can be used for everything from keeping up with friends to communicating with other people working in the same office.
When setting up messenger services, whether they are designed for sending alerts or having conversations, people can pick a number of options. The service can start when a computer is booted, can be set to autorespond or autoidle to alert people to the fact that a user is not around, or can hide a user to people who are not on that user's contact list. Options like sending encrypted and secured messages are available with some clients and some network administrators build their own messenger service clients to meet specific system and security needs.