AOL today launched a preview of an all-new chat client, available as a free native application for Mac OS X, Windows or as a web app. Of course, Mac users have been able to add and exchange instant messages with their AIM buddies using iChat, which supports AIM and ships built in Mac OS X. Anyway, what’s new in the new AIM app?
A lot, and then some more. For starters,the new AIM looks much nicer and has the interface akin to the Twitter for iPad app, meaning swipeable panes. More important than that, according to Technologizer, the new AIM now saves chat messages sent while you were offline, which we’re sure is destined to become a popular feature (us here at 9to5Mac use AIM for work daily). Furthermore, AIM will store your entire chat sessions in the cloud.
You will be able to video chat via AIM as well (but not in a group chat) and exchange messages via Facebook Chat and Google Talk users, in addition to the standard AIM service. Next, group chatting is now available and supported with offline functionality, images and videos show inline, while separate panes for incoming Facebook and Twitter updates replace the dreaded Lifestream that used to pollute the interface with an endless stream of social updates, diverting your attention from the task at hand.
Speaking of which, AOL tied AIM with its other properties so expect to see news content from the Huffington Post, Engadget and TechCrunchi (don’t worry, it’s an opt-in). They will also update the Android app and their communications team told us that work on updating the iPad app is under way. Plus, the iPhone app will be available in App Store “soon”, we’ve been told.