AIM, the official AOL instant messaging app, got a full reboot on Tuesday. The first sign of change is the logo: Gone is the classic yellow running man; in his place sits a friendly robo-mascot waving its hand. But the rethink goes deeper: The relaunched AIM boasts a streamlined new interface, the ability to save conversations offline, group chat, video chat, and a news feed from AOL properties like The Huffington Post and TechCrunch. With all these improvements, can the former IM king compete with thriving rivals like Gchat and iChat?
Cheers to a fresh start: Well, it certainly looks "dramatically different," says Devindra Hardawar at Venture Beat. "You could easily mistake it for something from a fresh-faced startup." With "seamlessly integrated" video chats, the ability to send offline messages (kind of like Facebook), and AIM for Android and AIM for iPhone apps that are "definitely" superior to the "previous boring and buggy AIM app," the new and improved AIM "may just be good enough" to be "my go-to chat client."
"With a bold new redesign, AIM could finally be cool again (seriously)"
Nope. AOL already lost it: Even though "these new features are actually well implemented," AIM is "kind of a graveyard for those under 30," says Adrian Covert at Gizmodo. People are "increasingly using" other IM services like Google's Gchat. Is an overhaul really enough to bring it back from the grave, especially after the company's numerous "missteps"? I'd say it's doubtful.
"AIM Is Back From the Dead, but Will Your Old Buddies Sign Back On?"
It's definitely worth a shot: "I use my AIM instant-messaging account every day, but I can’t remember the last time I used the AIM software," says Harry McCracken at Technologizer. Usually third-party clients like iChat or Meebo fit the bill, as AIM's app has been "getting more bloated" every year since 1997, piling on useless feature after useless feature. But this new version strips the app to its core, and "finally feels like it was designed in the 21st century" with its clean user interface resembling Twitter for the iPad. "I'm not sure whether I'll stick with it, but I'm going to give it a try."
"Thoroughly Modern AIM"