Instant-messaging apps aren't just for emotive tweens; corporations rely upon IM for quick, cross-cubicle communication. But behind the smiley faces of many IM apps, lax security lurks. Pitching safer, SSL-encrypted messaging with virus scans, AOL created AIM Pro. This free corporate IM service integrates with Microsoft Outlook and the WebEx online meeting service so that you can collaborate with business buddies while having your calendar and multiple contacts on hand. AIM Pro also includes video and voice chatting, as well as tools for IT administrators.

So far, we like the simple installation and the straightforward interface, which lacks ads. Once we had signed in to AIM Pro with our AOL identity, the app's Calendar tab immediately integrated our Outlook calendar without demanding any extra steps. A book icon within the Quick Contacts area at the bottom of AIM Pro allowed us to add coworkers' names, which were stored within Outlook.

AOL has been making other IM updates lately. It recently enabled AIM Triton users to get a free phone number through AIM Phoneline service, which charges $14.95 monthly to let you make outbound calls to landline and mobile phones around the world. By comparison, Yahoo Messenger charges $2.99 monthly if you want to get a phone number, which Windows Live Messenger doesn't provide.