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Google aboard, AOL offers peek at 8.0

The update to the America Online service won't be a dramatic shift from version 7.0, but the company's Web search engine now is powered by Google.

America Online released on Wednesday a preview version of its upcoming AOL 8.0 service, slated for official release this fall.

Separately, AOL unveiled a new version of its Web search engine that is powered by Google. AOL Search, as it is called, will also incorporate results drawing from the keyword system in AOL's proprietary online service.

As previously reported, the AOL 8.0 is not a dramatic shift from its current AOL 7.0. New features will include enhanced parental controls, new bells and whistles in its e-mail and instant messaging clients, a redesigned AOL Music channel and a new Shop@AOL area that incorporates product search technology from

A review of AOL 8.0 in June revealed that a central theme in the client's design will be customization. People will be able to incorporate more graphics into their instant messenger interfaces in the form of new smiley faces and animated icons on their IM windows.

Indeed, AOL earlier this month released a preview version of its upcoming AOL Instant Messenger 5.0 that includes a customization feature dubbed "AIM Expressions." Similar to Yahoo Messenger's IMVironments, AIM Expressions allow people to import animated backgrounds into their IM windows. One AIM Expressions background was based on the Warner Bros. film "Eight Legged Freaks."