AOL Launches Open Voice APIs

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AOL Launches Open Voice APIs

Today, AOL will launch Open Voice APIs to enable developers to integrate the AIM Call Out Service into softphones and SIP-enabled devices. According to AOL, the APIs will "provide third-party developers and VoIP device manufacturers with open standards protocols that will enable them to easily integrate the AIM Call Out service into softphones, as well as SIP-enabled hardware and cell phones with wi-fi connectivity."

The APIs directly integrate with AIM Call Out, which is AOL's "SkypeOut" PSTN low-cost dialing service. AIM Call Out is built right into AIM, a popular instant messaging client that used to be and perhaps still is the #1 IM client. Skype may or may not have surpassed AOL in total users, but regardless, AOL dropped the ball when they let Skype's voice functionality help erode into AOL's formerly dominant IM market share.

Many users are loathe to run multiple IM clients, so many switched from AIM to Skype because they could get IM, plus voice & video -- all in a single client. Why bog down system resources with multiple IM clients? I will say AOL has done a good job of beefing up the feature-set of AIM, but one has to wonder if Skype's momentum is unstoppable. That said, there are still several popular IM clients hanging around, including Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger, which added interoperability / federation a few years back. What I'd really like to see is interoperability & federation between all IM clients, VoIP clients (using SIP), video clients (using H.264), etc. But that may be a pipe dream, especially since Skype, Inc. doesn't want to jump on the SIP bandwagon anytime soon.

In any event, Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, AOL said, “By opening up our voice communications gateway to developers we’re furthering the mission of AIM which is to facilitate the world’s real-time conversations. We’re building on the popularity of the Open AIM program and opening up the AIM Call Out platform, enabling open standards voice communication services to proliferate in the marketplace."

The AOL Developer Network provides third-party developers with direct access to AOL's technology platforms and open APIs. AOL stated the available open APIs, tools, and documentation for services such as AOL Video Uploads, Open Xdrive, Truveo, Userplane, MapQuest, Winamp, OpenAuth, and others, can be viewed at

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