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If you’ve ever had to crawl through your instant messaging chat archives just to prove a point to a friend, you would probably appreciate imo.im’s new chat history search feature. Now users of the web-based IM aggregator will be able to save and search their chat histories for any of its supported chat services. And most importantly, the searching is very fast — it allows you to view search results letter by letter as you type.

You don’t have to do anything special to turn on imo.im’s chat logging. Simply log into the site using one of your IM accounts, and it will begin logging and encrypting your chats. Turning the service off requires a simple checkbox deselection in your imo.im preferences.

Imo.im currently supports AIM, Gtalk, Yahoo, MSN, MySpace, and most intriguingly, Skype. Competing services like Meebo don’t yet support Skype — which is surprising given Skype’s growing popularity. The site also offers audio and video chat capabilities with other imo.im users, regardless of what chat service they happen to be signed in with.

I’ve grown dependent on chat history logging since I started using Trillian way back in 2001. It may not seem all that useful at first, but its utility becomes apparent over time. It allows for your chat client to remember where your conversations leave off — which is particularly useful for people you don’t chat with regularly. It also turns your chat client into a sort of journal for all of your IM conversations; being able to jump back several years to find a conversation with a close friend can only be described as priceless.

Imo.im has received angel funding from one of its co-founders — and one of the first 10 Google employees — Georges Harik. Full disclosure: Harik is also an angel investor in Venturebeat.

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