RealTime IT News

AOL Launches New Stand-Alone Communicator

America Online is launching a stand-alone communications product for its members that combines e-mail, instant messaging and an address book into one integrated suite. Targeting its broadband subscribers, the AOL Communicator integrates AOL's radio services and My AOL Today, an interactive screen saver and news ticker.

The Communicator can also consolidate e-mail from multiple screen names and other POP and IMAP accounts into a single application. The new product is available at no additional charge to AOL members.

According to AOL, the Communicator complements the new AOL 9.0 Optimized, which includes an array of communications options, including an upgrade for AOL Mail, enhanced instant messaging services, as well as additional built-in safety and security protections.

The Dulles, Va.-based subsidiary of AOL Time Warner is rolling out the new product in hopes of jump starting its broadband membership in the face of slumping dial-up memberships.

AOL 9.0 Optimized was launched just two weeks ago and, on Monday, the company announced Electronic Arts (EA) will provide AOL members with free access to five games from EA's Club Pogo, a new subscription service offering exclusive games and a variety of services that non-AOL members pay $4.99 a month ($29.99 annually) to access.

AOL members who want access to the community services available through Pogo will receive a special discounted rate of $2.99 a month ($19.99 annually). AOL members need to use AOL 9.0 Optimized, the latest version of the company's broadband services, to take advantage of the EA offer.

Other AOL Communicator features include:

  • Improved e-mail filtering that lets members automatically separate and eliminate unwanted e-mail, displaying spam messages in a separate color, as well as in a separate spam folder for review and one-click deletion. Members can also mark e-mail as spam, helping AOL Communicator's adaptive spam filters to catch similar e-mail in the future by learning over time what the member considers to be spam.
  • Allows members to view or save e-mail attachments by clicking on attachment links within e-mail messages. When composing e-mail, members can also add one or more attachments by dragging and dropping files directly onto their message.
  • Streamlines the addressing of e-mail and instant messages with features such as the ability to display contacts by a "friendly name" or nickname rather than by e-mail address. AOL Communicator's address book automatically synchronizes with the member's AOL address book, making it accessible whenever and wherever they access the AOL service.