Monday, May 5, 2008

5 Reasons To Like AOL

Back in the late 90s, my parents used this terrible dial-up ISP called AOL. Everybody hated it. You had to use this stupid Web browser/Email Client/IM Client/All in one POS for everything. A lot of people started on AOL, but lately they've been struggling to keep relevant in a world where broadband is essential, and their consumer base is substantially more educated. Some of their attempts are actually pretty cool services.

1. Xdrive - Free online storage
Xdrive lets you store up to 5 GB of files in the cloud for free. They also have an API for developers, and a little tool to let you upload directly from your file browser (probably Windows only).

2. In2TV - Watch classic TV series for free
I actually didn't know about this one. The website lists a substantial amount of shows, including The Flintons, The Jetsons, Gilligan's Island, Bugs Bunny, Thundercats, and Growing Pains.

3. Support of the open XMPP (Jabber) protocol
Many of you probably use Jabber without even knowing it. Google uses it for Google Talk, and recently Facebook has used it with their Facebook IM service. XMPP is an open standard, and therefore is much better than traditional instant message protocols (AIM, Yahoo, MSN, etc.). It looks as though AOL is thinking about migrating their AIM service to XMPP, which would be huge.

4. My eAddress
This one is really interesting. They let you register a domain name for free and use it in our email address. For example, I am now and if I ever use AIM Pages (their social network) I think my page will be placed on Oh, and they offer "unlimited storage" with your account.

Open AIM API For Developers

AOL has provided a well documented API for creating applications with AIM. This includes full documentation of their OSCAR protocol. I know I said that I really hope they switch to XMPP, but making OSCAR completely open is effectively almost as good.