4. Instant Messaging

ICQ, the first of the so-called “instant messager” programs, was released in November 1996. Developed by Israeli company Mirabilis, ICQ was a response to the multitude of users who were not familiar with established chat technologies like Internet Relay Chat.

Mirabilis’ free ICQ technology was so successful that AOL acquired the company in 1998 for $407 million, at the time the largest Israeli technology buy ever made. By 2001, ICQ had over 100 million accounts registered.