AIM 7, a version of America Online's instant-messaging client that can also bring users into Facebook and other social-networking services, will come out next Tuesday.
The update is the most significant new version of AIM in years, company officials said Tuesday in a presentation at the TechCrunch 50 conference in San Francisco. Though the software's user interface is "lighter, faster and cleaner" than in the previous version, they said, the biggest change is Lifestream, a set of features that lets users both view and post status updates and content to a variety of social-networking services from within AIM.
With AIM 7, AOL is boosting the importance of the status updates that users can post below their names for display on buddy lists, while seemingly acknowledging that other companies have grabbed the spotlight on this type of functionality. AOL effectively is providing a front end for third-party services including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Delicious and Digg.
Users can "cross-post" their status, as well as photos and links, to AIM and other social networks. They can also selectively filter out one or more networks as they post status updates and view those of their friends.
With AIM on more than 20 million desktops and mobile devices, AOL expects the new version to become one of the most popular Twitter and Facebook clients, the company's presenters said at TechCrunch.
The new version of AIM will come out next Tuesday, but meanwhile, a new beta test version for Windows and Macintosh came out Tuesday on AOL's beta site. A paid, ad-free iPhone version is available now on the iTunes App Store, and a free version is coming next Tuesday.