Since joining AOL in 2006, I have worked on the product direction and strategy of two AOL products. The first of these was the myAOL personalized start page, which I covered previously when it launched in 2007 and was rolled out to 78 countries. The other product I have worked on is AIM.
AIM has been around a very long time - launched in the 1990’s it assembled the first viable social graph with the AOL buddy list. So I was excited to jump on board with a team of internal AOL thought-leaders in January 2008 to map out the future of myAOL and determine how it could interact with AIM to offer users a streamlined social utility. During this process we identified that real-time data or the “lifestream”, is a necessity to any social experience on the Web. AIM had a similar "lifestream" concept since 2005 called AIM Buddy Updates which I covered previously, as we relaunched it on the Web in the summer 2008. We concluded our work and learnings from the project and proposed a direction and then went on to acquire SocialThing, which I connected with AOL via TECH cocktail Boulder 1 to join the AIM team and contributed to the effort. Being involved from its original ideation till now, I am pleased to see the new AIM with lifestream come to fruition.
Last week the AIM product team shared their story by demoing the new AIM at TechCrunch50. The team did a super job demoing in a front an early adopter crowd. Check out the AIM team of Jeremy Rephlo, Christina Wick and Jean-Paul Cozzatti sharing the new AIM at TC50 (below):
Later in the week through my involvement as a local DC host for the Geeks On a Plane event, we had AIM's Greg Cypes presents the new AIM to the White House and State Department.
Rafe Needleman of CNET had this to say:
"I tried the iPhone app. It's a decent combo client, although I found it much better for instant messaging than for Twitter or Facebook."
Dana Oshire of Read Write Web was very complimentary:
"While this may appear to be a basic life streaming client for Twitter and Facebook, one of the great features of this service is the fact that it allows users to drag and drop images, URLs and text directly from the browser."
Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch referred to the new AIM as:
pre-launch walk-thru of the new AIM to AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong and today AIM has officially launched and as a leading instant messaging service in the United States, it has the potential to quickly turn into the largest Twitter and Facebook client. It only makes sense, as AIM was one of the first places you saw the status message, which in the area of social media has turned into a powerful 140-character communication currency. I am excited to see the new AIM with lifestream launch on the Mac, PC, iPhone and Windows Mobile, making it easy to communicate with all your friends across multiple social networks, at the same time.
"AIM is now faster, better and more streamy."
So you are probably wondering, what are some the features to check out? Here are some of my favorites:
- AIM Lifestream – you can visit http://lifestream.aim.com/settings to configure all you social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Delicious, Flickr, etc). You can also set your privacy to enable others to comment on your lifestream. I set mine to ‘open to the public’ to get the conversation flowing.
- Sync Twitter and/or Facebook Status – Set-up your AIM Status message to sync with Twitter and/or Facebook. This allows you to set your status once and have it quickly pushed to your Facebook and Twitter accounts,saving you time.
- Photos – Add photos to the lifestream via your computer or iPhone with ease - to offer your buddies a more interesting status photo filled message.
- Interact via the Lifestream – Comment on a Tweet or Facebook message and it will post the comment back to Twitter or Facebook, once again saving you from having to go in and do so.
- AIM TXT – that’s right, you set your startup and follow your friends’ lifestream activities via SMS TXT message. Just text AIMAIM or 246246 visit AIM TXT for more information.
So those are just a few of my favorite features, but there are lots more that I will leave it up to you to find. Oh and I should mention, that this is just the beginning so stay tuned as AIM will continue to bring new things to your phone, computer and the Web. Congrats to the AIM team and AOL for launching the new AIM.