A technology that enables real-time, text-based communication between two or more participants over the Internet or some form of internal network/intranet. The synchronicity of the communication is what separates chat and instant messaging from e-mail. In certain cases Instant Messaging involves additional features, i.e. to see the other party by using Webcams, to talk directly for free over the Internet, or to send messages to people not currently logged on (offline messages). (See Real Time).