AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) Obit Take 2

Last August Gizmodo wrote the obituary for AIM, it turns out they were only 7 months early. With the majority of my old AIM team let go last Friday, the team is down to a handful of engineers, testers and others to maintain the client.  We have seen this story before with the AOL dial up client.  When AOL was put in maintenance mode it kept a few key employees around in case something went wrong.  So here is my obituary for AIM:

AOL Instant Messenger passed away on Friday March 9th after 16 years of complications related to poor management.  As the inventor of many key social features and the inspiration for a few important features in Facebook, AIM was the web’s first social network.  AIM will be remembered by the many who worked on it and it leaves behind many patents that AOL may choose to sell or license.

So AIM’s servers are not getting turned off, there are still a few million using the service but I doubt we see too many new features.  And while Mashable does not declare AIM dead, Christine Warren does touch on where AIM went wrong.  Going back over in my mind we lost our way when we could never convince AOL’s corporate bosses to open up AIM to 3rd party networks until it was too late.

It was a great run for AIM, and all of us who worked on it should be proud of the work we did to change the way we communicate online.

What is old is now here!

Finally, I have rescued all my old blog posts from 2007-2010 and imported them here.  If you are looking for old information on AIM, ICQ, AOL or AIM MusicLink, the posts are all here.  It was a trip going back to read all the things I worked on back then.  By now, Google should have re-crawled my blog and indexed the posts.

Happy surfing down memory lane.

myAOL supports Open Social Containers

Today at the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco, Eric Staats, one of AOL’s Principal Software Engineers announced AOL’s support for Open Social Containers during the “Meet the Containers” session today. From Eric’s post over on the OpenSocial API Blog:

Over the next few months, we will implement the Gadget specification on myAOL, and eventually we will support OpenSocial across our products and platforms. By using this single widget application framework, AOL will take a significant step toward becoming a more open service, making it easier for developers to leverage our APIs to enhance AOL products and services with creative new applications, and ultimately leading to a better experience for millions of users.

Supporting these gadgets across myAOL and other AOL services it continues AOL’s commitment to giving both developers and our users the best experience across the web.

AOL on Desktop for the Mac

It has been an eternity (well more like 5 years), but we have released a new AOL client for the Mac. The client will run on both MacTel and PPC for Leopard and Tiger.

So far the reviews have been very good for this application, so if you are a long time AOL user on the Mac check out the latest build.

One thing about this client that is worth pointing out is the buddy list and IM functionality in the client is powered by the Open AIM Mac SDK. The Mac SDK contains framework for applications to be written using Cocoa. This framework is the same that powers our experimental AIM Lite client for the Mac that we released in January of this year. You can view the source for this experimental client in the Mac SDK. We are starting to see more applications being written for platforms other than Windows which is really exciting.

I know the AOL Mac team would love to have some feedback on their work. They have a blog where you can keep up with the latest info and where you can share your thoughts on the client.