AOL instant messenger – Know your AIM and get connected to your friends

The messaging service provided by AOL also known as AIM, is widely used by users to communicate with each other. OSCAR is the standard protocol used by AIM clients. This messaging service can be used on several operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, MAC OS X, iPhone OS and Linux

History and Release versions of AIM

The history of AOL goes back to September 1995 when “Buddy List” was introduced only for the internal users of AOL with the standalone version being available only in May 1996. The “Online Messaging” in its true sense was born after a decade referred as QuantumLink and was available to subscribers. The main features of the revised version of this instant messenger, Version 2 comprised of –

• Instant messaging between two people

• Messaging service for more than two people in a chat room

• Provision to share files

Version 4 included several features like adding contacts which could be increased up to 200 in addition to games on Windows Operating System. Version 5 heralded entirely new characteristics with the availability of video conferencing. User acceptance and feedback in the real time was considered important and was first launched in the home page of AIM under preliminary versions of Triton. Triton was later recognized as the 6th version of AIM in September 2006. The final version was however release in December 2006 and came up with fabulous features. It could connect to the home page of AIM and provided its users with a provision to maintain an address book. It enabled the users to send messages to offline users as well. Gradually version 6.1 incorporated features like inserting images, ability to change the font and color of the user interface and an improved support on Windows Vistas. Communication on phone was integrated in the version of AIM.

Various products of AIM can be downloaded from its official website depending on its usage on desktop, mobile or a website. Downloads are available for Windows, MAC, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, AIM Express and Toolbar.

The screenshot below shows a typical AIM upon installation and usage.

Benefits and Limitations

While AIM provides its users with ultimate ability to chat with peers, send messages, files and dial up on their phones, there are a few limitations as well. Various malware and spyware are known to hack AIM due to its weak security properties. Softwares and programs trick users to open link of infectious websites under the disguise of a social networking message and harvest the ip address or send virus to the system. It can cause potential threat like installing virus on the system and stealing the user credentials. It is therefore important to maintain an updated and robust anti virus on the system using AIM in addition to a careful click on pop ups and unknown messages from AIM.

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