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Tencent QQ

Tencent QQ

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Encyclopedia
Tencent QQ, generally referred to as QQ, is the most popular free instant messaging
Instant messaging
Instant Messaging is a form of real-time direct text-based chatting communication in push mode between two or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients. The user's text is conveyed over a network, such as the Internet...

 computer program
Computer program
A computer program is a sequence of instructions written to perform a specified task with a computer. A computer requires programs to function, typically executing the program's instructions in a central processor. The program has an executable form that the computer can use directly to execute...

 in mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

. As of July 11, 2011, the active QQ users accounts for QQ IM totaled 812.3 million, possibly making it the world's second largest online community. The number of simultaneous online QQ accounts exceeded 100 million. In February 2011, QQ.com ranked 10th overall in the Alexa Internet
Alexa Internet
Alexa Internet, Inc. is a California-based subsidiary company of Amazon.com that is known for its toolbar and Web site. Once installed, the toolbar collects data on browsing behavior which is transmitted to the Web site where it is stored and analyzed and is the basis for the company's Web traffic...

 rankings just behind Twitter
Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...

 ranked 9th. The program is maintained by Tencent Holdings Limited , owned in part by Naspers
Naspers
Naspers is a South Africa-based multinational media company with principal operations in electronic media and print media Naspers is a South Africa-based multinational media company with principal operations in electronic media (including pay-television, internet and instant-messaging subscriber...

. Since its entrance into Chinese households, QQ quickly emerged as a modern cultural phenomenon, now being portrayed in popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

. Aside from the chat program, QQ has also developed many subfeatures including games, virtual pets, ringtone downloads, blogs, etc.

Stable

Version Release date Operating system
QQ2009 SP3 Windows XP
Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...

, Vista
Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

, 7
QQ 1.1.1 Mac OS X Snow Leopard
QQ International 1.1 Windows XP
Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...

, Vista
Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

, 7
QQ2011 1.3 iOS (iPad
IPad
The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. The iPad was introduced on January 27, 2010 by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs. Its size and...

, iPhone
IPhone
The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007...

, iPod Touch
IPod Touch
The iPod Touch is a portable media player, personal digital assistant, handheld game console, and Wi-Fi mobile device designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The iPod Touch adds the multi-touch graphical user interface to the iPod line...

)
QQ 2.1 iOS (iPad native)
QQ for Pad 1.6 Android tablets
WebQQ 3.0 N/A

Preview

Version Release date Operating system
QQ2011 beta 4 (Simplified Chinese) Windows Vista
Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

, 7
QQ2011 beta (Traditional Chinese) Windows XP
Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...

, Vista
Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

, 7
QQ Concept beta 3 Windows 7
QQ 1.0 beta 1 Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

QQ2011 beta 3 build 0115 Android phones
Tencent Messenger beta 3.3 Windows Vista
Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

, 7

Naming


The original name of QQ was OICQ ("Open ICQ"), based on an extant instant messaging
Instant messaging
Instant Messaging is a form of real-time direct text-based chatting communication in push mode between two or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients. The user's text is conveyed over a network, such as the Internet...

 service (IMS), ICQ
ICQ
ICQ is an instant messaging computer program, which was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company Mirabilis, then bought by America Online, and since April 2010 owned by Mail.ru Group. The name ICQ is a homophone for the phrase "I seek you"...

.

The abbreviation "ICQ" came from using letters that sound like "I seek you".

History



Tencent was founded in Shenzhen
Shenzhen
Shenzhen is a major city in the south of Southern China's Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China's first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones...

, China, on November 11, 1998, by Ma Huateng. Tencent's instant messaging service platform, "QQ" was formally launched in February 1999. In March 2003, Tencent was able to buy the Internet Domain QQ.com. After years of strong business growth, on July 16, 2004, Tencent Holdings Limited (SEHK
Hong Kong Stock Exchange
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in Hong Kong. It is Asia's third largest stock exchange in terms of market capitalization behind the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange and fifth largest in the world...

 700) went public.

Development


QQ was initially developed by Tencent Inc. in February 1999. It was first released as a "Network Paging" real time communications service. Then other features were successively added such as chatrooms, games, personal avatars
Avatar (computing)
In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user's alter ego or character. It may take either a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities. It can also refer to a text...

 (similar to "Meego" in MSN), internet storage, and internet dating services. Most of these features were free. Its variety of features and easy-to-use interface made it very popular, especially among teenage users. In a few short years, it was the most popular real time communications service in China.

The current preview version of QQ is QQ2011 beta2. Tencent periodically releases special versions of QQ to coincide with events such as the Olympics or Chinese New Year.

The official client runs on Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 and a beta public version was launched for Mac OS X
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

 version 10.4.9 or newer. The web versions, WebQQ (full version) and WebQQ Mini (Lite version), which makes use of Ajax
Ajax (programming)
Ajax is a group of interrelated web development methods used on the client-side to create asynchronous web applications...

, are currently available. On July 31, 2008, Tencent released an official client for Linux, but this has not since been kept in step with the Windows version.


In response to competition with Windows Live Messenger
Windows Live Messenger
Windows Live Messenger is an instant messaging client created by Microsoft that is currently designed to work with Windows XP , Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, Xbox 360, Blackberry OS, iOS, Java ME, S60 on Symbian OS 9.x and Zune HD...

, Tencent released Tencent Messenger, which is for business people. It also provides, in limited form, features that are only available to premium members in normal QQ.

A beta version of QQ is currently available for Symbian
Symbian
Symbian is a mobile operating system and computing platform designed for smartphones and currently maintained by Accenture. The Symbian platform is the successor to Symbian OS and Nokia Series 60; unlike Symbian OS, which needed an additional user interface system, Symbian includes a user...

 S60
S60 (software platform)
The S60 Platform is a software platform for mobile phones that runs on Symbian OS. It was created by Nokia, who made the platform open source and contributed it to the Symbian Foundation. S60 has been used by mobile device manufacturers including Siemens mobile, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Panasonic...

 3rd Edition.

Membership


QQ currently allows free registration for membership. In 2002, Tencent stopped its free membership registration, requiring all new members to pay a fee, but in 2003, this decision was reversed due to pressure from other instant messaging services such as Windows Live Messenger
Windows Live Messenger
Windows Live Messenger is an instant messaging client created by Microsoft that is currently designed to work with Windows XP , Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, Xbox 360, Blackberry OS, iOS, Java ME, S60 on Symbian OS 9.x and Zune HD...

 and Sina UC
SINA.com
SINA is an online media company for China and Chinese communities around the world. SINA operates four major business lines: Sina Weibo, SINA Mobile, SINA Online, and SINA.net. SINA has over 100 million registered users worldwide...

.
Tencent currently offers a premium membership scheme, which offers features such as QQ mobile, ringtone downloads, and SMS sending/receiving. In addition, Tencent offers "Diamond" level memberships. Currently, there are seven diamond services available:
  • Red, for the QQ Show service which features the ability to make an avatar for yourself.
  • Yellow, for the Qzone
    Qzone
    Qzone is a social networking website, which was created by Tencent in 2005. It permits users to write blogs, keep diaries, send photos, and listen to music. Users can set their Qzone background and select accessories based on their preferences so that every Qzone is customized to the individual...

     service which is similar to a blog.
  • Blue, which is for QQ games.
  • Purple, which is shared between four Tencent games, QQNana, a Korean dancing game, QQTang, an action game, extremely similar to crazy acrade and Pacman and QQSpeed, a car race game, and R2beat, a roller skating rhythm racing game.
  • Pink, for QQ pet, a small desktop game about raising a pet. So far there are 3 generations of pets. Penguin, Pig, and Bear (beta testing).
  • Green, for QQ music, which is a software for listening to music directly from the Tencent server. Requiring no pre-download, though sometimes consuming a lot of disk space due to caching.
  • VIP, for chatting, beta testing, removing advertising, and several additional features
  • Black (recently introduced) DNF (地下城与勇士), a Tencent PVP game

Merchandise


Tencent has taken advantage of the popularity of the QQ brand, and has set up many Q-Gen stores selling QQ branded merchandise such as bags, watches, clothing as well as toy penguins.

Controversies and criticisms


QQ has faced many criticisms and controversies. Many users complain QQ provides fewer and fewer free services and an annoying number of ads.

Dispute with Qihoo 360



China's anti-virus company, Qihoo 360, analyzed the QQ protocol and accused QQ of automatically scanning users' computers and of uploading their personal information to QQ's servers without users' consent. In response, Tencent called 360 itself malware
Malware
Malware, short for malicious software, consists of programming that is designed to disrupt or deny operation, gather information that leads to loss of privacy or exploitation, or gain unauthorized access to system resources, or that otherwise exhibits abusive behavior...

 and denied users with 360 installed access to some QQ services. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information reprimanded both companies for "improper competition" and ordered them to come to an accord.

Other issues


A program distributed with QQ censors and monitors the user's behavior on the Web.

Because of QQ's extensive use of advertisements and processes related to ads, it has been branded as malicious adware
Adware
Adware, or advertising-supported software, is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer. These advertisements can be in the form of a pop-up. They may also be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during...

 by many anti-virus and anti-spyware vendors.

In August 2004, QQ Games began filtering keywords such as "钓鱼岛" (Diaoyu Islands) and "保钓" (Movement to protect the Diaoyu Islands). This act caused much controversy and Tencent has since lifted the filter.

On July 21, 2005, Tencent announced its intention to follow orders set by Shenzhen
Shenzhen
Shenzhen is a major city in the south of Southern China's Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China's first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones...

 Police and enforce the requirement of real names for all the administrators and founders of QQ Groups. This caused much controversy on whether it can prevent the spread of pornographic and other indecent messages, or whether it intrudes on one's privacy. However, the difficulty of enforcement made the real name registration optional.

The resources required to run QQ have increased substantially since it was first released, which has caused some people to turn to third party "lite" versions.

Q coin


The Q coin is a virtual currency
Virtual currency
Virtual currency is used to purchase virtual goods within a variety of online communities; which include social networking websites, virtual worlds and online gaming sites....

 used by QQ users to "purchase" QQ related items for their avatar
Avatar (computing)
In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user's alter ego or character. It may take either a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities. It can also refer to a text...

 and blog
Blog
A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

. Q coins are obtained either by purchase, one coin for one RMB
Renminbi
The Renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China . Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of the PRC...

, or for using the mobile phone service. Due to the popularity of QQ among young Chinese, Q coins are now accepted by gradually more and more online stores and gaming sites in exchange for "real" merchandise such as small gifts, and raised the concern of replacing (and thus "inflating") real currency in these transactions. The People's Bank of China
People's Bank of China
The People's Bank of China is the central bank of the People's Republic of China with the power to control monetary policy and regulate financial institutions in mainland China...

, China's central bank, says it is investigating the possibility of cracking down on Q coin, due to people using Q coins in exchange for real world goods. Tencent claims the Q coin was merely a regular commodity, and thus not a currency.

Modifications


Coral QQ, a modification of Tencent QQ, is a popular add on. While Tencent charges for some services and displays advertisement, Coral QQ provides free access to some of the services and blocks Tencent's advertisements. In 2006, Tencent filed a copyright lawsuit against Chen Shoufu (aka Soff), the author of Coral QQ, whose redistributing modified Tencent QQ was ruled illegal. Chen then published his modification as a separate add on. On August 16, 2007, Chen was detained again for allegedly making profits off of his ad-blocking add on. His case is pending at Shenzhen Nanshan district court.

QQ International


In 2009, QQ began to expand its services internationally, with its IMQQ portal, working with partners throughout Asia and the USA.

In India, Tencent has partnered with ibibo
Ibibo
Ibibo which stands for iBuild, iBond, is an Indian social networking site. It is an umbrella site that offers a variety of applications under its social network....

 to bring such services as chat, mail and game to the developing Indian internet sphere.

In Vietnam, Tencent has struck a deal with VinaGame
VinaGame
VNG Corporation was established in Vietnam in 2004 under the name Vinagame. It is an internet company whose main businesses are game publisher, e-commerce, and social networking sites .VNG was the first to launch a licensed online game in Vietnam....

 to bring the QQ Casual Gaming portal as well as the QQ Messenger as an addition to the already thriving Vietnamese gaming communities.

In the United States, Tencent has partnered with AOL
AOL
AOL Inc. is an American global Internet services and media company. AOL is headquartered at 770 Broadway in New York. Founded in 1983 as Control Video Corporation, it has franchised its services to companies in several nations around the world or set up international versions of its services...

 to bring QQ Games
QQ Games
QQ Games is a casual games client, offering only multi-player online games. Games are available through the QQ Games client and are entirely free to play. Partnering with AOL Instant Messenger through the AIM Plugin Gallery, AIM version 6.5 and up comes bundled with QQ Games...

 as a contender in the US social gaming market. Launched in 2007, QQ Games comes bundled with the AIM installer, and competes with AOL's own games.com to provide a gaming experience for the AIM user base.

Web QQ


Tencent launched its web-based QQ formally on September 15, 2009, the latest version of which being 3.0. Rather than solely a web-based IM, WebQQ 3.0 functions more like its own operating system, with a desktop in which web applications can be added.

Social network website


In 2009, Tencent launched Xiaoyou (校友, 'school friends'), its first social network website, trying to compete with Renren and Kaixin001, the leading Chinese social networks, for students mainly. In mid 2010, Tencent changed direction and replaced Xiaoyou with Pengyou.com (朋友, 'friends'), trying to establish a more widespread network, to which extant QQ users could be easily redirected, hence giving Pengyou.com a major advantage over its competitors.

Open source and cross-platform clients


Using reverse engineering
Reverse engineering
Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object, or system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation...

, open source communities have come to understand the QQ protocol better and have attempted to implement client core libraries compatible with more user-friendly clients, free of advertisements. Most of these clients are cross-platform, so they are usable on operating systems which the official client does not support. However, these implementations had only a subset of the functions of the official client and therefore were more limited in features. Furthermore, QQ's parent company, Tencent, has over successive versions modified the QQ protocol to the extent that it can no longer be supported by most, and perhaps any, of the third-party implementations that were successful in the past (some of which are listed below). As of 2009, none of the developers of third-party clients have publicised any plans to restore QQ support.
  • Pidgin
    Pidgin (software)
    Pidgin is an open-source multi-platform instant messaging client, based on a library named libpurple. Libpurple has support for many commonly used instant messaging protocols, allowing the user to log into various services from one application.The number of Pidgin users was estimated to be over 3...

    , an open source cross-platform multiprotocol client
    Multiprotocol instant messaging application
    A multiprotocol instant messaging application is client software composed of an IM application which may connect to multiple IM networks. The networks supported include: AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, XMPP , MSN Messenger, QQ, Yahoo! Messenger, as well as specialized networks such as Novell GroupWise...

    , with third-party plugin
  • Kopete
    Kopete
    Kopete is a multi-protocol, free software instant messaging client. Although it can run in numerous environments, it was designed for and integrates with the KDE desktop environment...

    , an open source multiprotocol client
    Multiprotocol instant messaging application
    A multiprotocol instant messaging application is client software composed of an IM application which may connect to multiple IM networks. The networks supported include: AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, XMPP , MSN Messenger, QQ, Yahoo! Messenger, as well as specialized networks such as Novell GroupWise...

     designed for KDE
    KDE
    KDE is an international free software community producing an integrated set of cross-platform applications designed to run on Linux, FreeBSD, Microsoft Windows, Solaris and Mac OS X systems...

    • Note: Kopete, old versions of Pidgin, and any other client whose QQ support is based on libpurple no longer supports QQ as of May 2011
  • Miranda IM
    Miranda IM
    Miranda IM is an open source multiprotocol instant messaging application, designed for Microsoft Windows. Miranda is free software distributed under GNU General Public License.- Architecture :...

    , an open source multiprotocol client
    Multiprotocol instant messaging application
    A multiprotocol instant messaging application is client software composed of an IM application which may connect to multiple IM networks. The networks supported include: AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, XMPP , MSN Messenger, QQ, Yahoo! Messenger, as well as specialized networks such as Novell GroupWise...

    , designed for Microsoft Windows
    Microsoft Windows
    Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

    , with MirandaQQ2 plugin.
  • Eva

See also

  • Tencent
  • Comparison of instant messaging clients
    Comparison of instant messaging clients
    The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of instant messaging clients. Please see the individual products' articles for further information. This article is not all-inclusive or necessarily up-to-date...

  • Online communities with more than 100 million users

External links

QQ Portal "Inside QQ" research report by +8* Plus Eight Star Learning Chinese Using QQ ( English-Chinese QQTranslator) English beta for QQ Tencent's first offering in the United States Tencent QQ services overview Thai localization of QQ