Empathy will be part of the upcoming GNOME 2.24 desktop.
The ubuntu desktop team considers using it instead of Pidgin for
intrepid as default IM client. If you are running intrepid, please give
empathy a test and report bugs to launchpad. It may be installed by
running synaptic and installing the empathy package or by running
"sudo apt-get install empathy".
If you experiment a bug have a look at  before reporting.
Empathy consists of a rich set of reusable instant messaging widgets,
and a GNOME client using those widgets. It uses Telepathy and Nokia's
Mission Control, and reuses Gossip's UI. The main goal is to permit
desktop integration by providing libempathy and libempathy-gtk
libraries. libempathy-gtk is a set of powerful widgets that can be
embeded into any GNOME application.
The Telepathy project is building a unified framework for many
different kinds of real-time communications. It uses the D-Bus
messaging system to provide a simple interface for client applications,
allowing them to quickly take advantage of Telepathy's benefits.
Telepathy supports XMPP(jabber), MSN, ICQ, SIP, ...