AOL's new Converged Communications Client

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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AOL's new Converged Communications Client

AOL is starting from scratch in building their next converged IM/voice/video software client. In reading the AP news it appears it will be easy to add on additional modules. Say goodbye AIM! Perhaps they will follow the Firefox model and allow third-party plug-ins to be easily added to their main client? It is my hope that AOL will finally ditch their proprietary nature & history and adopt open standards for once. AOL is still a very popular ISP and could do great things in VoIP and the instant messaging space if they become more open.

Here's the AP news:

NEW YORK (AP) -- America Online Inc. is preparing to ditch its decade-old instant messaging platform, building a replacement from scratch that's designed to integrate text, audio, video and future forms of communication.

AOL has released an early, limited-feature preview of its next-generation IM software, called Triton, and hopes to complete it by year's end. AOL plans only one more update to the existing AIM software, now at version 5.9.

The key difference will be the use of tabs to manage a growing list of contacts.

Currently, chats with different contacts occur in separate windows, quickly cluttering the computer desktop. Add to that ways to communicate beyond text, including audio, video and file transfers.

Triton (pronounced TRY-ton) keeps all that within a single window. You'll flip through vertical tabs to change contacts and horizontal ones to switch the mode of communication.

AOL engineers took a modular approach in building Triton. That means new features, such as support for Internet-based phones, can be easily added as a block rather than retrofitted into the software as is now the case.

Chamath Palihapitiya, general manager of AIM, said the original software was designed in 1996 with text in mind.

"Would you ever have thought in 1996 that this computer is going to be used for ... sending stuff to mobile phones and initiating calls over the Internet?" he asked.

Triton will also incorporate "IM Catcher," IM's version of a spam folder. The tool collects all messages from those not on your buddy list.

AOL and CNN.com are owned by parent company Time Warner.



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