For those who came of age in the late 1990s and early 2000s, ICQ was likely one of the first messaging apps you ever used. The iconic flower logo, those satisfying “uh-oh” notification sounds – ICQ defined online chat for an entire generation. But after over 25 years, the pioneering messaging service is finally calling it quits on June 26th, 2024.

ICQ (which stands for “I Seek You”) launched in 1996, making it one of the true elderstatesman of the internet age. Developed by an Israeli company called Mirabilis, it quickly became one of the first massively popular desktop chat clients, introducing features that are now ubiquitous like contact lists, user profiles, and showing when your friends are online.

At its peak in the early 2000s, ICQ had over 100 million registered users across the globe. People used it to chat with friends, as well as meet new people in forums and chat rooms dedicated to particular interests. ICQ’s easy interface and multimedia capabilities made it an instant hit, especially among younger users.

But as social media and smartphones took over in the late 2000s, ICQ began to lose steam. While it tried to evolve with web and mobile apps, it couldn’t quite keep up with the intense competition from WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other modern chat services.

After being passed through the hands of various companies over the years, including AOL and Russian tech firm Group, ICQ is finally being discontinued as of June 26th, 2024. The app and service will no longer function after that date.

For long-time users, it marks the end of an era and another tiny loss of early internet nostalgia and culture. While ICQ’s heyday was fleeting, it left an indelible mark and paved the way for the modern chat apps and social media services we use today. The pioneering little flower may be gone, but its legacy of connecting people across the globe will live on.