Trillian 5 released, free for everyone via ads

By on May 10, 2011, 1:56 PM

Trillian users rejoice: Cerulean Studios has concluded its lengthy beta period today and Trillian 5 has emerged with a new interface, additional features and a fresh business model. Entering public beta last August, the latest version brings a resizable, ribbon-inspired interface with Windows theme integration, new icons for services, and cloud-based chat history. The messenger has also gained new social features, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn integration, as well as a Foursquare plugin with GPS support.

The latest build also represents a significant change in the way Cerulean will profit from the software. Founded in 1998, the developer initially offered a free version of Trillian and was funded solely through user donations. That changed in 2002 with the introduction of Trillian Pro, a commercial version of the instant messenger that cost $25 per year for additional features. Cerulean later abandoned its subscription model, allowing users buy a $25 license that covered the entire life of a Pro build (all of 3.x or 4.x for instance).

Cerulean has decided switch back to a yearly subscription, offering a single free version of Trillian with the full functionality. The catch, of course, is that the software is now supported through advertisements from Netflix and other services. To disable the ads, you'll have to subscribe to the new Pro service, which costs $12 per year. The Pro service also allows you to store your chat logs in the cloud, protecting them against hardware failure -- though with all the security breaches lately, this makes us a bit uneasy.

Before announcing this plan, Cerulean allowed users to purchase a commercial license for Trillian 5. Those folks will be grandfathered into the new scheme. According to the company's blog post, if you paid for the latest version, you will receive the new Pro service for the lifetime of Trillian 5.x -- not just a year. Although many old school Pro users are angry about the change, most seem confused about the new terms, thinking they'll eventually have to pay a $12 subscription fee for Trillian 5 on top of the previous $25 license fee.

User Comments: 8

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bchen88c said:

love Trillian- been using it since beta 24 or something

yowanvista yowanvista said:

I hope someone will make an adblocker just like Live messenger

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

+1 to loving Trillian. I'd prefer to have the licence opposed to the subscription, but an ad based full version, assuming it's not too intrusive, is not a bad alternative either... I'll give it a try later. =o

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

After paying for versions 3 and 4 I don't like the model change and the fact that they didn't add much on this update, innovation has only come on the mobile side and yet they want to keep charging for a new desktop version. Maybe I will just go back to ver 4.x.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Twelve bucks a year is really nothing. Except for an IM program of which there are a ton out there. I don't get it...

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Ever since MSN 2011 I swapped out to Trillian permanently anyway... (long time user)

Does that mean that even though I've been using the free version now its laden with spam?

I heard from Trillian Blogs that its hitting the mobiles free as well, where its paid currently.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

TomSEA said:

Twelve bucks a year is really nothing. Except for an IM program of which there are a ton out there. I don't get it...

I think it's more of a "bang for the buck" approach. For that $12 a year, you get a seamless continuously updating chat platform on your PC, mobile devices, even online through the website if you have to use someone else's computer. They have made Trillian more into full-blown multi-platform service than just a messaging software package.

I've been using Trillian for years, and I rather like things like the fact that it updates my chat history when I step away from the desk and move to my Blackberry. That said, I have yet to use version 5 on any platform, so it'll be interesting to see if there is much difference in performance or look/feel.

Guest said:

Its KILLING me. Its not like its an ad every now and then, its CONSTANT. It even pops up ads on your desktop when your not IMing.

Trillian has turned in to malware. So sad.

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