For many of us, socialising online began with MSN Messenger. A haven for teenage gossip, blossoming love and bitching about school or parents, for a lot of Gen Y it was the first instant messaging service we used online, an intimate network that eschewed the need for logging into laborious internet forums. Famous for its emoticons, nudge functions and embarrassing usernames, Microsoft's MSN Messenger was a basic template for how millions of us interact online now.
Launched in 1999, the service's popularity has dwindled to the extent that by 2013 it had been removed from all countries bar China. However it's now lost ground in China too, as users opt for rival services such as QQ, a chat function developed by the Chinese tech company Tencent. This fading of strength has forced Microsoft's hand and by 31 October it will be completely offline, confined to exist as a relic of an internet era that once was. We can't help but feel nostalgic and sad about it.