AOL has had a web version of AIM for quite some time now. I haven’t used it in a long time, but I remember it was powered by Java last time I used it. Recently Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) sent out a press release stating that AOL launched AIM Express, a Flash-based version of AIM. The URL for the new AIM Express is at: http://www.aim.com/aimexpress.adp.
“AIM Express raises the bar with its streamlined design and lightweight messaging experience,” stated David Liu, SVP AOL People Networks. “It’s now even easier for AIM users, especially those on-the-go, to connect with friends whether at home, at a coffee shop, the library, or wherever they have Web access.”
The new version of AIM Express includes tabbed IM conversations, status messages, text message mode, buddy rollover, and browser compatibility. AOL also launched an AIM platform that is compatible with the Windows Mobile operating system.
When I heard about this news, the first thought I had was Meebo already exists. Why switch to AIM Express from Meebo? I can understand why people would use the mobile version of AIM Express, but the Flash-based online version seems pretty useless compared to Meebo. Using Meebo, users can sign on to AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, ICQ, MSN, and Jabber at the same time.
There are several other services that took Meebo’s offerings and one-upped them too. For example, Digsby is another instant messenger and social network aggregator. Digsby supports AIM, Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, GTalk, Jabber, Facebook Chat, etc.
Pidgin is another example. Pidgin supports Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, GTalk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MySpaceIM, QQ, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, XMPP, Yahoo!, and Zephyr.
Will a lot of people use AIM Express? Even though there are a plethora of alternatives for AIM Express, many people will end up using it because there is a link to it directly on AIM.com. And everytime someone logs into the AIM desktop software, AIM.com is opened in the default browser unless it is switched off. This increases the overall awareness of AIM Express.