Tencent’s (HKG:0700) QQ is the most widely used IM service in China. However only Windows users can enjoy the complete QQ experience – though the Mac version finally got video support this summer. In 2009, Tencent released WebQQ, a web app for the IM service which was widely welcomed by Linux and Mac users (and Windows users who could sneakily use it in the browser at work!). Yesterday Tencent totally revamped WebQQ to become Q+, which is a full-featured web app with icons and a dock that looks more like a mini-OS.
Although the name makes us think of Google Plus, we should point out that Tencent thought of the name first, as this has been in testing since before G+ came along. Also, Q+ is quite different. Q+ integrates lots of Tencent’s services, such as QQ Mail, Tencent Weibo, and QZone (a kind of blog and photo album service). There are lots of third-party web apps in there too, such as Douban FM (see the radio icon, pictured above), and widgets for things like stocks, and weather. You can do all kinds of things simultaneously in this single page.
Q+ provides a cloud-based input method editor for typing Chinese, which means users can type Chinese characters on the web without installing an actual IME app. Files can be transmitted whether your buddy is online or offline. A nice handwriting pad is attached, on which you just click your mouse to scribble stuff. Video chat is supported, too – just click the camera icon to start it; but note that it requires Flash, which means it won’t work on your iPad.
Buddies can be dragged to the desktop directly for quick access in future. To emphasize how much this is like a desktop OS, Q+ even allows users to switch among five desktop spaces, sort of like the Mission Control feature in Mac OS Lion.
Several themes are available. Users can also upload pictures as Q+ wallpapers as well.
Thousands of web apps are available in the Q+ market now (pictured above). Apps are categorized, and range from office utilities to entertainment apps. Developers can utilize Tencent’s open APIs to make their own web apps for Q+.
Q+ works fine on different operating systems, which was the aim of Tencent with this revamped product. Q+ also has its own desktop app, which is the same as the web equivalent, but for Windows only. Overall, Q+ is no longer an afterthought and a mere IM web app – it has now become a mature service, to the point of being like a mini-OS. Give Q+ a try in your browser, and tell us what you think in the comments.