AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) 5.5 upgrade launched; compatible with Apple’s iChat AV

America Online, Inc. today announced the launch of the most recent upgrade to the popular AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service with new features including live video instant messaging compatible with Apple’s popular iChat AV video conferencing application, account linking and online games. AIM version 5.5 is available today via a free download at [url=http://www.aim.com]http://www.aim.com[/url].

Designed to give users a more expressive instant messaging experience, AIM’s new version offers a number of new advanced instant messaging capabilities that extend the vibrant social interaction that takes place within the AIM community. For the first time, users will have the ability to conduct live video instant messaging conversations, link up and manage multiple AIM screen names from the same session, and invite their buddies to play online games through their instant messaging connection.

The new live video instant messaging feature in AIM 5.5 is fully compatible with iChat AV 2.1, Apple’s breakthrough video conferencing technology. Now AOL users from a PC can tap into the worldwide community of iChat AV users on Macs. iChat AV 2.1, the latest version of iChat AV was released by Apple today and is available for free download at [url=http://www.apple.com/ichat/]http://www.apple.com/ichat/[/url].

“With the increased popularity of instant messaging both for fun and for work, our focus is innovating so that AIM users have new advanced features that allow them to create more interactive instant messaging experiences,” said Ed Fish, Senior Vice President and General Manager, AOL Desktop Messaging in the press release. “With enhanced new features including video conferencing with both AIM users and the large community of Apple’s iChat AV users, AIM 5.5 offers additional tools to help stay in touch, be more productive and be more entertained.”

“With the introduction of iChat AV in Mac OS X ‘Panther’ and the iSight camera, Apple revolutionized the way people communicate with each other over the Internet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing in the press release. “Now iChat AV users can video conference with their AOL buddies around the world who use PCs.”

The AIM service is at the center of one of the largest and most active communities online. Touched by more than 50 million active users each month and supported by a network infrastructure that handles nearly two billion instant messages each day, the AOL Instant Messenger network makes it possible for people from around the world to communicate with each other via text, audio or video all in real time, and to engage in other shared activities, such as casual gaming.

Key Features of AIM 5.5 include:

— Live Video Instant Messaging: For the first time, AIM users now have the ability to engage in live streaming video conversations with others via their instant messaging connection. With only a web cam, microphone and one click on the video button in AIM 5.5, users can start a live video/audio conversation with other AIM users from just about anywhere in the world.

— AIM Games: By clicking on the “games” button within the AIM Buddy List feature, users can find and invite friends to compete in online interactive games. Not only can AIM users invite and play online games with others, but they can also instant message with those they’re playing with, making for a more interactive and competitive gaming environment.

— AIM Account Linking: With account linking, users with multiple screen names can sign onto AIM once, and have all of their screen names appear online. Users can view multiple buddy lists from a single location, choose to have all their instant messages from multiple screen names automatically forwarded to a single AIM account, and link icons, expressions and other messaging features to these different names. Users can, for example, maintain work and home personalities, family and gaming personas, all linked up to their chosen features. Account linking also works with special screen names for love.com, a new real-time personals service featuring the AOL Instant Messenger service.

AIM 5.5 is available today at [url=http://www.aim.com]http://www.aim.com[/url] Video functionality is free and available to users using the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. iChat AV 2.1 Public Beta was released by Apple today and is available for free download at [url=http://www.apple.com/ichat/]http://www.apple.com/ichat/[/url].

30 Comments

  1. A very cool move by Apple: If you don’t want to “risk” using a beta just to go through the hassle of trying to save and reinstall the old version, according to Apple in the iChat download webpage…

    “If you�d like to revert to your older version of iChat AV, you can do so at any time by choosing �Revert to iChat AV 2.0� in the iChat AV application menu.”

    All betas should have that function!

  2. I don’t suppose iChatAV adds support for the super advanced and highly techno-challenging “buddy folders”??? I mean, who can blame apple for not being able to produce code that is so complex?

    grr.

  3. 4.6 is the Mac AIM version, the PC AIM version is 5.5, go to [url=http://www.aim.com]http://www.aim.com[/url] to download all versions, there is also a Linux version, but just like the Mac, it doesn’t allow for Video IM’s.. only windows at this time… and for reference, Yahoo IM has an 0S9 client, so if you have people still stuck on OS9, they can chat with you on that system, no sound, but it works.

  4. Does anyone know if AIM 5.5 on Windows can do a “voice only” chat?
    Last time I checked, Yahoo Messenger required a video camera in order to transmit sound (at least in the Mac version). I’d like to be able to iChat “voice only” with a Windows user, from a dial-up connection.

  5. Jaguar is old news…geez, enough of the bitching and whining already! We had enough of it this week with Safari. Get it thru your head…the new stuff from Apple will only work on their CURRENT operating system. So get over it!

  6. Hey Jeff, iChat has buddy folders. They’re called “groups.” I’ve been using them since the start. Look into them before ragging on a missing feature that is anything but.

  7. I’m already there, at home. Upgrading at the office isn’t something that I control. Apple continues to punish the wrong set of users by refusing to make anything backwards compatible with even Jaguar. And Jaguar isn’t old news. Panther’s been out what, 6 months?

    iSight costs more and the video quality is poorer than the piece of shit Logitech camera that Logitech end-of-lifed (made easier by Apple’s new subscription OS) by locking out of their long-delayed OS X driver. Now, to do something as basic as talk to Windows users, that’s a core system function? I don’t believe it. Leaving Jaguar users out again continues to be a shitty and regretable strategy on Apple’s part.

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