Before you could even “Skype” or “BBM” your friends, or even use Facebook chat, there was AIM. Now, the AOL Instant Messaging (AIM) system that pioneered web chat back in the 1990s hopes to once again keep you up all night chatting with your friends with its relaunched service, complete with a new look and feel. After more than a decade, this refurbishing is deemed to be the biggest in the software service’s history.
AOL is eager to stop users’ exodus, giving the company cause for a full overhaul. The changes were prompted by ailing figures showing a significant drop in visitors (4.9 million), a decrease of nearly 65% compared to previous years. Head of AIM products, Jason Shellen, discusses why they upgraded AIM and how they want the community to see them, as consumer demands progress, saying, “If we left AIM alone, it would keep tapering off as is. I think the reason to do this as a company is because AOL wants to show the world it’s not the same old AOL.”
Shellen gave more details in another interview saying, “AOL told us they’d love some startup-minded folks to give AIM a refresh. AIM had been bringing people the OMG and LOL, and TMI for years and years, but the product kept getting patchwork updates and the feature set grew and grew. We thought we should give a trim, slim update to the AIM client and make great group conversation. There are some cool whiz-bang features too.”
The remodeled AIM comes with a few cool twists that include better storage and syncing abilities, allows collaboration and better photo viewing.
Store and Sync
AIM now allows users to store message history and sync all the send and receive messages across different devices one uses. This way, you don’t miss messages as you move from your desk to your phone, to all the other gadgets we juggle.
To see photos, you would normally have to open it in another window. But now, you can view web-based photos, videos, tweets embedded right within chat windows.
The AIM-Facebook Love
AIM has recently teamed up with Facebook and now permits the use of your log-in credentials in the social network to enter the messaging platform—a convenient way to connect with your friends. However, there’s a security concern with their point of integration–AIM does not have the usual approve/reject option for your buddy list. Anyone can chat with you, as your status is public by default.