The iconic ICQ instant messaging service, which has been a staple for many since its inception in 1996, is finally bidding farewell. Russian company VK, the service’s steward since 2010, announced that ICQ will cease to exist from June 26th. This news marks the end of an era for those who fondly remember the days of using ICQ to connect with friends and family in real time.

ICQ was one of the early instant messenger services that paved the way for platforms like AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger. What set ICQ apart was its unique user identification system, which assigned each user a number for connecting instead of using aliases or email addresses. Additionally, ICQ offered features like SMS messaging and the ability to send messages to offline users, making it a trailblazer in the world of instant communication.

Initially founded by Israeli company Mirabilis, ICQ saw a massive surge in popularity and grew to 100 million registered users at one point. However, after being acquired by AOL in 1998, ICQ’s trajectory took a different turn. Subsequent ownership transfers ultimately led to VK becoming the service’s custodian in 2010. Despite efforts to modernize ICQ and keep up with the changing landscape of messenger apps, it seems that the service has been gradually fading into obscurity.

For many users, ICQ holds a special place in their hearts as a symbol of their early experiences with online communication. The distinctive alert sound of “Uh oh!” upon receiving a message and the unique user numbers are fond memories that evoke nostalgia for a simpler time on the internet. As ICQ officially shuts down, users are encouraged to transition to other chat solutions offered by VK.

The discontinuation of ICQ marks the end of an era in the world of instant messaging. While newer platforms have taken over the spotlight, ICQ will always be remembered as a pioneering service that revolutionized the way we connect online. As we bid farewell to ICQ, we also bid farewell to a piece of internet history that will forever hold a special place in our memories.


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