America Online Updates Instant Messenger

The AIM 5.9 update includes the integration of AOL’s You’ve Got Pictures digital picture service; the dramatic enhancement of the AIM Expressions feature and the addition of AIM 3D computer-animatedSuperBuddy Icons; and the introduction of an AIM Fun Tools feature and a new AIM Toolbar. AIM version 5.9 is available now via a free download at

The integration of the You’ve Got Pictures online picture service offers AIM users access to free and easy-to-use options for storing, organizing, accessing, printing and sharing digital pictures with anyone on the Internet. This addition expands the AIM service’s existing Instant Image sharing functionality and gives users a built-in range of convenient digital photography features.

“While text-based instant messaging has gone mainstream, IM users are now interested in new, shared experiences that help them do more with the friends, family members and colleagues on their Buddy Lists. In fact, our 2004 survey of instant messaging trends revealed that picture-sharing via IM in particular is now a key feature for many IM users,” said Edmund Fish, senior vice president and general manager, Desktop Messaging, America Online, Inc. “The AIM 5.9 update anticipates this and other emerging IM needs by providing Internet users everywhere with not just image file transfer, but with a complete digital picture service, free of charge. The addition of the You’ve Got Pictures service is just one of the many ways that the AIM 5.9 update will help users get more out of instant messaging.”

The new AIM 5.9 also offers a dramatic enhancement to the AIM Expressions feature, giving users the ability to personalize their messages with an expanded suite of icons, sounds and wallpapers. AIM users can now choose from among more than three thousand AIM Buddy Icons, hundreds of smiley sets, and thousands of sound effects and wallpaper motifs.

AIM users can also take advantage of 3D computer-animated SuperBuddy icons, which were previously only available on the AOL service. SuperBuddy icons “express themselves” through more than 20 different animations and sound effects that are triggered by 75 of the most common chat phrases, abbreviated “text speak” and smileys that people use to send instant messages.

For example, as a user types “LOL” – for “laugh out loud” – the SuperBuddy character might laugh hysterically. Typing “zzz” can cause the SuperBuddy character to fall asleep with a dramatic flourish. These icons reside in the instant message window, and – even when a conversation is idle – the characters continue to “live and breathe” using ambient animations. The cast of SuperBuddy icons includes more than 200 characters, each with individual and quirky moods, personalities, sayings, and traits. Personalities range from popular celebrities to this season’s favorites, George W. Bush and John Kerry.

Additional features of AIM 5.9 include:

— A new AIM Fun Tools feature. A new addition to the AIM Buddy List feature provides users with one-click access to AIM’s fun and entertaining features, including video instant messaging, the You’ve Got Pictures service, AIM games, radio from Radio@Netscape, mobile IM forwarding , screen name linking and more. The AIM Fun Tools are free to all users and can be selected the first time users log on to AIM 5.9.

— The new AIM Toolbar. The new, AIM-branded Toolbar works with Internet Explorer to give users an easy way to conduct Internet searches, block pop-up advertisements and access AIM’s most in-demand features as they travel the Web. The AIM Toolbar is an optional feature that AIM users can select during their initial download of AIM 5.9 or during their upgrade from AIM 5.5.


Users can download and learn more about AIM 5.9 at AIM 5.9 includes access to some AIM Expressions features and SuperBuddy icon content at no additional charge. A yearlong subscription to AIM’s entire suite of AIM Expressions features is available for $9.95. Users can opt to pay as they go for a fee of $1.95 per month. AIM SuperBuddy icons cost $1.95 each or three for $4.95.

AIM Video Messenger functionality is free and available to users using the Microsoft Windows XP operating system; it is compatible with Apple Computer’s iChat AV video conferencing application.

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