RealTime IT News

AOL Offers Free Blogging Tools

America Online (AOL) is looking to bring blogging to the masses with the its now-free bloging software that offers some new features. For example, AOL Journals on AIM.com allows users to set up and update their online journals via IM.

First launched in 2003 as a service for the ISP's paying customers, the bloggine program is now available for free through the AIM.com Web site.

It's part of AOL's effort to make its IM product more useful by adding new capabilities as well as new partnerships.

AOL Journal features include: multiple blog templates; the ability to update journals via IM; spam filters; photo upload tools; and support for Really Simple Syndication 2.0 .

The software also counts the number of hits the users' blog receives and lets visitors with an AIM or AOL screen name to post feedback, the Dulles, Va., Time Warner unit said.

Using blog software as an add-on to attract loyal users to portals or search sites is not new, although tools and membership rules differ.

Two years ago, Google bought Silicon Valley software firm Pyra Labs and its Blogger Web publishing platform.

Microsoft's MSN also launched a blogging tool that ties in with its home media technology plays. Called MSN Spaces, the free, hosted MSN Spaces service enables MSN members to maintain and manage their blogs.