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Odigo smiles on animated instant messages

Odigo is putting a new face on instant messaging.The IM provider announced a partnership Tuesday with software developer Tech Image that will let people send animated instantmessages through its service.

Odigo is putting a new face on instant messaging.

The IM provider announced a partnership Tuesday with software developer Tech Image that will let people send animated instant messages through its service.

Electronic text has long used character conventions to symbolize emotional shadings--for example, ":)" indicates a smiley face. Several IM services, including Yahoo (yhoo) Messenger and America Online Inc.'s (aol) AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), have gone a step further, incorporating graphical smiley faces with a range of expressions, from happy or sad to angry or snide. Now Odigo wants to move to the next level with Tech Image's software. Dubbed Feelingz, the software captures and recreates real facial movements for its 3D animated characters, which people can view by downloading Tech Image's free FeelzPlayer. -- Gwendolyn Mariano, Special to ZDNet News

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