updated 02:15 pm EST, Wed November 16, 2011
AIM on desktop and mobile gets new look
AOL on Wednesday launched a redesigned AIM for both desktops and mobile devices to compete with modern alternatives like Facebook Messenger or Google+. The service now syncs message histories and makes sure users can follow what was missed, even if they were signed out. As a nod to privacy, users can turn syncing off if they don't want a conversation to stay on the server.
Certain existing features are simpler. Group chat is now faster and easier to maintain, and messages with photos, videos, or Twitter updates now show the content in-line. Facebook and Google Talk chats are available on top of AIM chats. An attempt at aggregating social updates, Livestream, has been replaced with an optional look at Facebook and Twitter updates by themselves.
Apps both on the desktop and mobile have been simplified and have a more polished look. Both the iOS (App Store) and Android (Market) apps take advantage of the new features while also bringing in some of their own. Users can now copy and paste messages, and it's possible to set "quiet hours" to silence push notifications and in-app sounds to avoid being disturbed during sleep or in a meeting. A heavily requested option now exists to change the incoming message sound from AIM's default.
On iOS, users can also check for updates from fellow Instagram users.
All of AIM's front ends, including its native Mac and Windows desktop apps as well as the web sign-in, have been updated as of today.