AOL updated its instant messenger client AIM this week. Actually, “update” isn’t strong enough of a word. Maybe revitalized? Rethought? Transformed?
For the first time since I was a kid, the new version of AIM is better than its predecessor. Since its inception in 1997, AOL has been trying to do too much with AIM, adding bizarre features like emoting avatars. All we ever really cared about was talking with our friends. That’s why Facebook and Gmail’s chat applications have taken off — that’s literally all you can use them for.
The latest version of AIM, now available in preview, gets back to those basics. No more separate buddy lists and chat boxes, no more emoticons that send creepy smiles flying across your screen, no more option to make your chat window plaid.
Yes, you can still video chat and send files back and forth. There’s also integration with Facebook and Google so you can chat with your friends on those services right in your AIM window. You can also get Twitter updates and connect to Instragram.
But that’s really it.
Maybe I’m a curmudgeon, but I really like its simplicity. We use AIM for internal chats here at CNN, but that practice always seemed a little outdated to me. Now, when I use it, I no longer feel like I’m in high school. -David