AOL AIM Triton

November 23 2005

Looks like AOL has launched its new AOL Instant Messenger client , "Triton", at least in the US.  Intriguing that they're using an "I AM" theme for their launch messages -- hasn't that been done before?  Not just by Lotus?

Looking under the covers....new catch-up features include easier audio/video chat and file transfer; tabbed IM UI, and chat history.  The UI is cleaner and seems straightforward, though why AOL felt like they had to mess with the visuals of the existing emoticons, I don't know.  The new emoticons are ugly.  The whole UI feels a lot slower, too.

As is typical with AOL IM, a bunch of new crap was installed along with the AIM upgrade.  The main one is a slow browser shell called AOL Explorer.  I always love spending ten minutes undoing this stuff.

AOL is more heavily promoting AIM Mail as a free mail service for AIM users.  The marketing stuff emphasizes that this mail service has an "unsend" feature.  What they don't say -- it only works with other AIM Mail users.  Not real useful.

Overall a worthwhile upgrade for a few of the key features, but not a "wow".  I'm sure I'll get asked somewhere in here why I don't use Trillian or whatever.  Honestly, I'm content to have AOL IM be my only public IM service.  I'm allergic to MSN, and while I've been using Skype more, its IM features are weaker than the others.  I guess it's simply that I'm focusing on one tool and don't need the distraction of others.

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