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Jabber is this:

For technophobes, please go here:

For people with privacy concerns, there's a new (2015) very excellent client for encrypted jabber, if you're using MacOS or Windows or Linux (or, I reckon, BSD):

Or you can use various other client apps (e.g. Adium or Pidgin), or you can use it via a web site (e.g.

The only problem with jabber is that you need to set up a jabber account separately from setting up the client. There are lots of places you can get accounts: for example, or

BTW, although it's a hassle to have to set up a separate account, it's also a deliberate feature: it's so that people's information is decentralised, not all held by Google or Facebook or whoever.