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Instant messaging (IM) has become a significant tool for communication in global software development (GSD) projects. In this paper, we describe experiences of IM use based on 39 semi-structured interviews of participants in six GSD projects. Our results indicate that in successful projects, IM use was more wide-spread and systematical. IM status information was used to assess availability, even though the information was not always up-to-date. IM was used to facilitate multitasking and communication with multiple people simultaneously, and as a side channel in meetings. Many considered the communication initiation barrier lower for IM than for other synchronous communication media, such as the telephone. Saving the transcripts from significant discussions and decisions made during IM sessions was considered important, and failure to do so systematically was a major driving force to use other media, such as email, instead of instant messaging.