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AOL revs Web-based AIM to version 7

AIM Express 7.0 inherits several features from the regular downloadable version, including tabbed conversations and status messages.

AOL has upgraded its AIM Express software, an online Flash-based application that replicates many of the features of the regular downloadable software (add your own review here).

Among the new AIM Express 7.0 features are tabbed conversations, status messages, text-message support to communicate with buddies' mobile phones, and compatibility with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 and 7, Mozilla's Firefox 2 and 3, and Apple's Safari 2 and 3.

The software is an example of the growing utility and sophistication of Web-based applications. Instant messaging, though, is somewhat more amenable to the task: it doesn't require the heavy processing burden of a spreadsheet, and not being able to work while offline isn't a big deal given that the whole point of IM is to chat with contacts on the network. Moving applications online poses some compatibility issues with various browsers or with software foundations such as Flash, but it can sidestep myriad other compatibility issues such as operating-system compatibility.

AOL also announced a new version of AIM for phones using the Windows Mobile operating system, including the Motorola Q, Samsung BlackJack, and some Palm Treo models. CNET editor Jessica Dolcourt reviewed the AIM for Windows Mobile phones beta in June.