Open AIM platform, announcing more upgrades to it today. The latest updates are:Open, freedom, dynamic, flexibility. Not words you'd traditionally associate with AOL. But they're pushing on with their
- Support for AIM Bots
- Location-based services
- PC-to-PC voice calling
- Support for developers working on the Mac OS X, Linux, and Pocket PC platforms - or with the Java language.
Together with the AIM Pages platform, which IMO is ahead of the curve in integrating external services into its social networking offering, this shows that AOL is adapting big time to the new rules of the Web.
Open AIM was launched in March and (according to the press release blurb) "empowers companies, communities and independent developers to build customized plugins, communications clients and mash-ups that access AOL's global instant messaging network." So basically AOL lets developers leverage its market-leading IM platform - which has 43 Million users according to AOL. And now they apparently have more than 45,000 developers working with the AIM Software Development Kit (SDK).
Seeing as IM is such a huge hit with the MySpace generation, it'll be interesting to see what people develop using Open AIM - and what mashups will evolve. The only way to find out is to open up, so AOL has to be given kudos for doing so. Of course, the fact that MySpace has IM too and the likes of Skype and Yahoo are big threats - doesn't hurt innovation in the IM space :-)
I need to investigate these AIM Bots some more, because they sound fascinating:
"AIM Bots are dedicated, opt-in Screen Names that help developers, marketers and individuals create new connections and establish strong bonds with contacts in the AIM community. In addition, AIM Bots can support audio calls, file transfers and picture sharing. For example, an AIM Bot could be created to let users send pictures or podcasts to their blogs.
AIM Bots respond automatically to instant messages (IMs) they receive and can maintain IM conversations with multiple users - reaching up to 10,000 people per day - before encountering limits.** To prevent IM spam, AIM Bots cannot initiate IMs without permission."
They also sound kind of dodgy, in terms of being bearers of spam and advertising. As a recent Slashdot article put it: AIM Bots: Useful or Spam? But still, I'm sure AIM Bots have their good uses!
disclaimer: I've done a tiny bit of work for AOL in the recent past, via Marc Canter's BBM. Just so you know.