AOL will soon upgrade the beta version of its latest Web mail service. Following Gmail, Yahoo it plans to include an expanded integrated instant messaging capability. AOL also recently announced a new Vista-compatible instant messaging client and toolbar. While AOL's Web mail has included a basic instant messaging functions since 2004, the upgraded mail beta will allow users to have instant message conversations without leaving Web mail.
They'll also be able to choose between sending a message via mail or instant message. The buddy list in the new Web mail will also highlight frequent contacts. Web mail users will see and be able to access their AOL instant messaging buddy list within the Web mail interface and conduct instant message conversations in a window that appears on the Web mail page.
In addition to the new integrated messaging and mail features, AOL also has plans to launch a Vista-compatible AIM 6.1, which will become available very soon for free download. An additional new features is when a buddy signs off, users can opt to send either an offline instant message or a text message to the buddy's cell phone. Users will also be able to restrict which buddies can send messages to their cell phones.
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