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AIM Adds Facebook Chat and Twitter to its Service

Hands On With The New AIM Beta and Integrated Facebook Chat
AOL, our parent company, has released a beta version of its once dominant AIM instant messaging program. While AIM has been toppled as the most popular IM service by both Yahoo! and Windows Live, it's aiming (get it?) to lure new users by integrating Facebook chat.

Now, in addition to compiling updates from Facebook, Twitter, and other social services in your "Lifestream," AIM will allow you to directly communicate with your Facebook friends. The edge over its competitors may be fleeting, though, as Facebook announced today that it has moved its chat system over to the open Jabber/XMPP protocol, which also powers Google Talk. This means that chatting with Facebook users in programs such as Pidgin, iChat, and Adium is possible.

We spent some time getting reacquainted with AIM in its new 7.2 form and found the Facebook integration seamless. The Lifestream feature remains a simple way to check Twitter or Facebook if you have a smaller number of friends, but we were bothered by its requirement that we allow it to post to our Wall.

Other irritations with the program (which caused us to ditch it in the first place) still remain. AIM still attempts to install the AIM toolbar, change your homepage, and hijack your search engine preferences. And, by default, it's set to launch the moment you start Windows.

Those who still use and like AIM will find plenty to like, but given some of the continuing annoyances, we don't see it winning many converts.

Check out the gallery below to see some of the new features in action.

AIM Integrates Facebook Chat

Tags: aim, aol, facebook, hands on, HandsOn, instant messaging, InstantMessaging, top