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Synchronous conferencing is the formal term used in computing, in particular in computer-mediated communication, collaboration and learning, to describe technologies informally known as online chat. It is sometimes extended to include audio/video conferencing or instant messaging systems that provide a text-based multi-user chat function. The word synchronous is used to qualify the conferencing as real-time, as distinct from a system such as e-mail, where messages are left and answered later.
Synchronous conferencing protocols include:
IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
PSYC (Protocol for Synchronous Conferencing)
SILC (Secure Internet Live Conferencing protocol)
XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol)
SIMPLE (instant messaging protocol) (Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions)

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