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AOL Invites Users to Take An OpenRide

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Let’s face it: <a href="http://www.aol.com">AOL</a>’s client software has ever been known for offering its users a wide range of technologically-savvy options, cutting edgefeatures, or best-fo-class capabilities. But for years, AOL’s service appealed to millions of Internet users because it was straightforward, handled the basics, and let people use the Internetwithout getting bogged down in annoyig tech-savvy features.
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In keeping with its new push to transform itself into a free, advertising supported collection of online services, AOL today announced <a href="http://www.aol.com/openride">AOLOpenRide</a> for Windows XP, offering an four-pane "Quad View" interface combining instant messaging, email, Web browsing, and search capabilities in one easy-to-managewindow&mdash;individual panes automatically resize to let users focus on a main tasks, while keeping at-a-glance overviews of other activities at hand.
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"Broadband users are simultaneously accessing multiple Internet features and consuming an ever-increasing amount of digital media," said Joel Davidson, AOL’s Executive VP of Products andTechnology, in a release. "We saw an opportunity to provide a new kind of software that could streamline their core activities&mdash;checking email, instant messaging, Web browsing andsearch, and enjoying videos, music and photos&mdash;in one convenient interface that automatically adapts as they navigate between features. OpenRide is a new addition to AOL’s growing suite offree products and services that we’re excited to introduce as a new way for people to enjoy the Internet and the benefits of broadband."
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AOL OpenRide enables users to manage multiple email accounts (both at AOL and at other providers) while watch videos, listening to music, and accessing photos all through one integrated screen; AOL’snew Web browser offers tabbed browsing and thumbnail Web page previews, in addition to built-in protections against phishing schemes and spyware. Users can also customize AOL OpenRide byincorporating additional features and personalization. AOL OpenRide’s Media Center (of course) hooks right in to AOL Video, as well as AOL Radio with XM, as well as users personal libraries of music,videos, and photos. AOL OpenRide’s search feature tie in with AOL’s own Internet search engine. AOL OpenRide users don’t have to sign in to surf the Web or access media; instead, the software needscredentials only to access account-driven services like instant messaging and email.
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The feature set isn’t going to make Internet veterans swoon&mdash;and the software largely depends on leveraging technology built into Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player&mdash;but forAOL users who already have high-speed Internet access, AOL OpenRide’s features&mdash;and media capabilities&mdash;might be just the upgrade they want from AOL’s earlier, increasingly-creakyofferings.
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AOL OpenRide requires Windows XP with Service Pack 2; the company says it is planning Vista-compatible versions of both OpenRide and its predecessor, AOL 9.0.
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