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Java chat is a generic term that describes a chat program written in the java programming language. This means each time you chat, your computer downloads a java applet that allows you to chat. You don't have to download, install, and launch a program to use the chat service. This means you can use the chat service on most computers, including some computers made available in public places such as libraries and schools. There are also disadvantages. A java chat program will never be as robust as a standalone chat program. The fact that the java applet has to be downloaded each time means the programmers of the chat client will do everything possible to keep it small. Therefore, usually java chat is text-only chat.