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AOL updates Instant Messenger

AOL Instant Messenger 3.0 offers tickers for news and stocks and the ability to send and receive graphic icons representing users, the company says.

Amid its ongoing imbroglio with Microsoft over instant messaging, America Online has released a new version of its AOL Instant Messenger software.

New to AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) 3.0 are tickers that stream news headlines and stock quotes through a separate window. AOL Instant Messenger 3.0 In addition, the new version offers "Buddy Icons," which allow users to "send and receive graphics representing users that appear in the Instant Messaging window," AOL said. AIM 3.0 also has a feature that lets a user stay connected to the service even if his or her Internet connection is briefly cut off, the company said.

AIM has become one of AOL's most popular offerings. Users who download the software can communicate in real time with AOL members and other AIM users.

"AIM now has more than 45 million registered users, including 15 million AOL members and 30 million AIM registrants, who together are sending more than 475 million messages daily," according to AOL.

However, since many users register multiple times, the figure does not tell how many individuals use AIM.

The launch of AIM 3.0 comes during AOL's ongoing feud with Microsoft over its new instant messaging product, MSN Messenger. When Microsoft launched Messenger in July, it let users communicate with AIM users after they entered their AIM password. AOL accused Microsoft of hacking into its servers to offer the feature.

In response, AOL has blocked access to its AIM users and has automatically logged off Messenger users trying to chat with AOL users. Microsoft in return has posted fixes to skirt around the blockades.

Users can download AIM 3.0 on a page on AOL.com.