AOL has completely redesigned its popular messaging service, AIM, from the ground up with a beautiful, new look for the iPhone, Mac, Windows, Android, and web.
The new apps look absolutely stunning, and several compelling features have been added. AIM’s free apps integrate with popular social networks, like Facebook and Instagram. There is support for Facebook Chat and Google Talk. Users can video chat and group chat. Conversations are synced across apps, and messages sent offline are saved for sending when connectivity is restored.
AIM has evolved. We’ve redesigned our app from the ground up to give you the best way to keep in touch with people and groups. Start or join a group chat, share images and your location, and continue conversations with your desktop and web clients seamlessly.
– Chat with a friend or group of friends with the new “Start a Chat” button
– Customize your groups with features like add/kick members, edit group icon and mute
– Favorite your friends and group chats for instant access
– Share photos and your location without leaving the conversation
– Copy and paste messages
– Tap on location previews in your conversation to get directions
– Tap on icons to quickly view user details or group chat settings
– See your social notifications for activity on your AIM, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts
– Turn on “Do Not Disturb” to turn off sounds and push notifications
– Set quiet hours to mute sounds and push notifications for when you don’t want to be disturbed
– Change your incoming message sound in sound settings
– Connect to Facebook Chat and Google Talk in your chat networks settings
The new AIM stores and syncs your messages across its apps seamlessly, so you can pick up where you left off on any device. Conversations can still be taken “off the record” if you so desire, but you’ll never have to worry about lost messages again.
Group chats and regular conversations allow for inline media and location sharing, and video calling makes AIM a real competitor for services like Skype and Google. The main drawback of AIM’s video calling feature is that it doesn’t support group video chat.
AIM’s new social network integration is particularly interesting. The new Mac app looks a whole lot like Sparrow and Twitter for Mac, and panes can be added in the left sidebar for Twitter and Instagram updates, Facebook notifications, etc. Users can login to AIM with their own AIM account, or MobileMe (We’re presuming that this will be updated soon to say iCloud?), and Facebook.
The iPhone app boasts most of the features that are available on the desktop, and all of AIM’s new apps take a refreshing approach to instant messaging. On both the iPhone and Mac, several elements in-app seem to be ported web views, and refreshing can be a pain.
AOL is extending AIM’s purpose by integrating some of its other properties into the app experience. On the Mac app, most of AOL’s web properties can be viewed in the “News” pane.
There’s no ETA on an official iPad app yet, but one is surely in the works. For now, you can visit the AIM Preview website to download the free Mac and iPhone app. There’s also a $2.99 paid version of AIM for iPhone that removes the ads and adds additional sounds.
A few more screenshots: