Speed Reads

permanent away message

AOL Instant Messenger to be discontinued in December

After 20 years, AOL Instant Messenger will be discontinued effective Dec. 15, 2017, the company announced Friday. "If you were a '90s kid, chances are there was a point in time when [AIM] was a huge part of your life," wrote Michael Albers, the communications products vice president at Oath, which owns AOL. "You likely remember the CD, your first screen name, your carefully curated away messages, and how you organized your buddy lists. Right now you might be reminiscing about how you had to compete for time on the home computer in order to chat with friends outside of school."

With alternatives like texting, Google Hangouts, Slack, and Facebook Messenger, "it's hard to imagine that many people are still using AIM, so ... this upcoming shutdown [isn't] likely to make a huge difference," The Verge writes. Rather, AIM's termination marks an end of an era: "In the late 1990s, the world had never seen anything like it," Albers wrote. "And it captivated all of us." Jeva Lange