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RealTime IT News

CompuServe Gets an Overhaul

America Online gave its CompuServe subsidiary service a much-needed facelift today with the introduction of the CompuServe 4.0 software in the U.S.

The struggling online service, once the leader among rivals Prodigy and AOL, is aiming to attract more members to its reported 2 million customer base with an upgraded version of the service that includes an overhauled main menu, 20 content channels, and instant messaging.

CompuServe said it now offers members a simplified registration process via a new Member Center. A newly organized Main Menu will provide content in 20 categories including news & weather, finance and business, sports and recreation, arts and entertainment, computing, travel, shopping, and games.

AOL's Digital City division will add local news, community services, entertainment information, and products from 38 different cities.

The new CompuServe Instant Messenger, which will employ the ICQ technology that AOL acquired when it bought Mirabilis earlier this month, will alert users when friends and family members are online. The instant messaging service is also designed to send and respond instantly to e-mails sent while users are logged on to either CompuServe or the Internet.

Upgraded navigation tools include a newly designed personalized toolbar that provides Main Menu access integrated with other features including local weather, stock quotes, mail, favorite places, member specials and the Internet.

Users are offered versions 3.02 or 4.01 of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser for their surfing needs, and will have access to a new search engine that leverages technology from Excite.