AOL Rolls Out AIM 6.5

AOL has released the latest version of its instant messaging application, AIM 6.5 for Windows. The new version doesn’t offer any new compatibility with other instant messaging services (e.g., Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Jabber, etc.) but does add features that let users stream their buddies’ non-DRM-protected music, more easily message cell phones, and tap into multiplayer casual games.

“With the latest release of AIM, we continue to provide our users with the tools that make it easy for them to connect and share their lives with their social circles in real-time wherever they may be,” said Marcien Jenckes, AOL’s senior VP and general manager for Messaging and Social Media, in a statement. “As social media booms, we’re introducing even more ways to help our users connect. AIM users can now send a text message to one friend or broadcast a personal message to all of their friends right from the AIM Buddy List.”

AIM 6.5 enables users to stream non-DRM music to their PCs from their Buddies’ playlists without using a separate media player. The new version also enables player to tap into multiplayer online casual games using the optional QQ Games Plugin from Tencent: users can compete with their Buddies in games like QQ Treasure Hunter, QQ Match Master, QQ Pool, QQ Robo, and QQ Black Jack. AIM 6.5 users can also easily toggle between sending messages to a buddy’s PC or cell phone (via text message), lets users set up private notes about their Buddies, and expands AIM’s status messages so users can post a personal message even when they’re not online.

AOL also says it will be releasing an AIM Dashboard later this month, replacing AIM Today, so users will be able to keep track of their entire buddy network with a class, and even monitor RSS feeds. AOL also plans to launch AIM Profiles, a new social networking feature, and AIM Photos, where users can tag buddies and make comments on photos posted to profiles.

AIM 6.5 requires Windows 2000 or higher, along with Flash and IE 6. Mac users are still stuck on version 4.7, but users of Mac OS X are probably using Apple’s built-in, AIM-compatible iChat application anyway. AOL does offer an AIM for Linux.

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