new AIM in beta

The last thing I’m here to do is shill for AOL, but I think the news coming out about Triton, the next generation AIM client, is worth mentioning. It isn’t that its features (from what I’ve read about them) are terribly innovative (or that it has a very original name – cripes, if you’re going to rip off a product, at least try to name it something a bit different). In fact you can read this slashdot thread to see nerds gripe about how the new features of Triton have been in Trillian and GAIM for a long time. But, I think the slashdotters miss an important point: Triton might bring media rich IMming to more people. As far as I can tell, the benefits of using alternative clients to chat with people on AIM have only been enjoyed by power-users so far. Now though, IMers will be getting more sophisticated and more reliant on IM, which means that it is even more important for libraries to be available in this way. Other changes in the software that are of interest to libraries:

there will be no discernible difference between how AOL handles SMS text messages in comparison to PC-to-PC instant messages. WOW! If Triton can send and receive text messages it would be a no-brainer for libraries.

Communication features are exposed through Triton’s “Quicknote” dialog, which replaces the initial IM window and provides a snapshot of user information. Quicknote lists a variety of ways to contact a buddy and will be expanded with more options as new features are added in subsequent beta builds. This could be a potential spot of (the quite popular buzz word) presence for libraries.

AOL must be feeling from pressure from Skype, because evidently there is an emphasis on VOIP

Also, it will be open to third party developers’ plug-ins, which is a first for AIM.

From what I read, the beta Triton is very much in beta phase, but here’s the download if anyone wants to play. [link]

For more, read AOL Testing Next Generation AIM Client from betanews.com

[update: i forgot to add that in the screenshot for Triton there’s an option to “Report IM Spam which I hope isn’t a portent of things to come…]

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