AOL to further integrate instant messaging and Web mail

AOL will soon roll out new features that further integrate its instant messaging capability with its Web mail offering

In the coming weeks, AOL will upgrade the beta version of its latest Web mail offering to include an expanded integrated instant messaging capability.

AOL also announced on Monday a new Vista-compatible instant messaging client and toolbar.

While AOL's Web mail has included instant messaging functions since 2004, the upgraded mail beta will allow users to have instant message conversations without leaving Web mail. Web mail users will see and be able to access their AOL instant messaging buddy list within the Web mail interface and conduct instant message conversations in a window that appears on the Web mail page.

They'll also be able to choose between sending a message via mail or instant message. The buddy list in the new Web mail will also highlight frequent contacts.

In February, AOL competitor Yahoo introduced similar new features into its beta mail service. Users of the Yahoo mail beta can start and conduct instant message chats from within the mail interface.

In addition to the new integrated messaging and mail features, AOL said that the new Vista-compatible AIM 6.1, which will become available later this week as a free download, will have a few new features. When a buddy signs off, users can opt to send either an offline instant message or a text message to the buddy's cell phone. Users will also be able to restrict which buddies can send messages to their cell phones.

Vista users will also get a couple of new personalization features. They'll be ale to change the colour of their buddy list and other instant messaging window elements, choosing from 10 colors. In addition, users will be able to attach their buddy list to either side of their desktop.

Another new feature will let users see all linked accounts at the top of their buddy list as well as set individual away messages and mark themselves as invisible for each linked screen name. The linked accounts feature lets users switch between multiple screen names without having to log-out and back in.

The new toolbar for AIM 6.1 offers users the chance to opt-in to capabilities that let them open a new instant message window and preview e-mail from the toolbar. Starting Tuesday, Internet Explorer browser users can download a stand-alone version of the Vista toolbar. The new toolbar will be available for Firefox users the week of April 2.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?