Prodigy Unleashes Web-Based IM Communities

, Prodigy Communications
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

“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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