America Online is moving into the Web-based e-mail market on Wednesday by tying e-mail into its popular AOL Instant Messenger service.
The free service will feature 2GB of storage, spam and anti-virus protection, and an interface that lets users drag and drop messages to organize and save them in folders, AOL is announcing.
AIM Mail will be based on AIM screen names and the aim.com domain. AOL’s existing base of 21 million active AIM users can use their current screen names as e-mail addresses and access the mail service once they download AIM 5.9. New users also can start e-mail accounts when they install AIM 5.9.
While AIM Mail initially will be accessed through the AIM client and its embedded version of the AOL Explorer browser, AOL plans to make it available from any browser through the AOL.com site once a full version is released in June, said Roy Ben-Yoseph, director of communication and client products at AOL.
Actually I logged on today using my AIM account and was able to get into the beta version of webmail. I don’t know if it will work for everyone’s account (I used to be a subscriber to AOL about 10 years ago). If you want to try go to mail.aol.com. It seems to give errors in Safari, but I was able to login using firefox.
From B’s Blog:
It’s obvious they’re aiming at the same market when what they offer includes 2GB of mail storage, IMAP access, spam and anti-virus protection, and a couple other things which are different, but probably not very smart.
I haven’t tested this yet, but if they offer imap access, I think that would be huge. That is one area where Gmail seems to be falling short. If AOL offers imap I might start using it as my secondary email address. The only problem is I’m not sure how bad the sigma of having an AOL account would be. Gmail comes across much “cooler.”
In addition to its own points of exposure, AOL is permitting open e-mail access from third party clients by enabling IMAP support. But, it could be said that as one door opens another slams shut; AOL has forced the installation of the Internet Explorer based AOL Explorer Web browser as the only accepted method to access the AIM Today Window.
I’m using the firefox for the webclient for the mail, so if they are forcing IE, it doesn’t seem to be directly related to the mail service.