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Prodigy Unleashes Web-Based IM Communities

Odigo Inc., Prodigy Communications Corp. Tuesday launched an all new instant messaging service available to Prodigy members and non-members alike, dubbed PIM.

With radar-like search for other users the Prodigy Web interface looks for users seeking to create and instant PIM community. Based on software developed by Odigo, users may build real-time IM groups on Web sites while they're surfing.

PIM is unlike traditional services in that it allows users to meet and greet anyone, anywhere, on any website using instant messaging; not just their buddies like America Online Inc.'s proprietary IM service.

PIM users can protect their privacy by selecting whom they want to meet. It also allows users to identify demographically, with whom they wish to communicate, regardless of the ISP they use.

Bill Kirkner, Prodigy chief technology officer, said instant messaging has become one of the most important tools for users communicating over the Internet.

"Now IM users have a way to meet new people or find people with mutual interests," Kirkner said. "PIM technology is the epitome of the robust user experience that made Prodigy a world-class Internet pioneer, and it is exactly this focus on technology and the user experience that drives Prodigy now and for the future."

Anyone can scope-out new human connections by downloading the free Prodigy software. Users can create multiple personal profiles that are accessible to other users to identify them. The program also allows users to predefine the type of people they want to instant message with by specifying what age, gender, location, interests, or zodiac sign another users has.

Avner Ronen, Odigo vice president of strategic development, said the Prodigy partnership would help expand the company's expansion into online services through new technologies.

"As a leading ISP, Prodigy's partnership with Odigo, and its new PIM product, reflects its dedication to providing a compelling user experience through the latest technologies," Ronen said. "In addition, this partnership not only expands Odigo's reach to Prodigy's growing subscriber base, but furthers our goal of making the Internet more intimate."

Odigo means, "guide" in ancient Greek. Odigo fuses new search techniques based on users' real-time interests with a variety of popular communications utilities. Its Web application for Prodigy is also enables voice chat services through standard IP programming.

In February, Prodigy announced it had made a $2 million investment in Odigo Inc. The New York City-based company developed Odigo at its research and development facilities in Israel.



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