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RealTime IT News

AOL Ups The Stakes in IM

AOL went on the move Monday with a quartet of announcements that embed its AOL Instant Messaging (AIM) platform into other services.

Microsoft Outlook users, CareerBuilder.com job seekers, Ruckus Network music downloaders and financial traders on the Thomson Financial network will now all have the AIM running man built into their applications.

The Microsoft Outlook integration (called AIM Sync) was developed by AOL partner Intellisync and is currently offered as a free public beta available on AOL.com. With the AIM Sync service, AIM is integrated into Microsoft Outlook 2002 or 2003 provider presence awareness and IM capability with AOL's IM network. AIM Sync also allows Outlook contacts to easily get "invited" to join AIM so users will have even more "buddies".

Job seekers using CareerBuilder.com will also now be able to benefit from AIM with a direct integration in that site. AIM users now have the option of including their AIM screen names with their resumes so that hiring managers can more easily contact them. AIM is also being integrated into the Ruckus Network which is an online community network with subscription based music and video content targetted at colleges and universities.

Thomson Financial is integrating AIM into its Thomson AutEx platfrom that runs on the Thomson ONE desktop. AIM will be used for presence awareness as well for the direct negotiation of price and quantity between buy-side traders and brokers, AOL officials said. The AIM integration with Thomson's network was developed with enterprise IM vendor IMLogic.

"Our goal is to offer instant access to the AOL Instant Messenger service and the familiar AIM Buddy List feature everywhere consumers are and want to be, from their e-mail application to their favorite online communities," said Chamath Palihapitiya, vice president and general manager, AIM and ICQ, America Online, Inc.in a statement "As the real time communications service of choice for tens of millions of Americans, the AIM service brings dynamic interactivity to the sites and services that people use everyday."

AIM isn't the first or the only IM client to be utilized in a financial services setting. In April 2004, Jabber announced that its IM platform had been chosen by the EBS Foreign exchange group (which includes Bank of America, Barclay, Credit Suisse First Boston, JP Morgan Chase and others).

AIM integration with AOL's Netscape browser has been a feature of that browser for a number of years now, just as Microsoft's MSN Messenger is integrated within Internet Explorer.