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AOL updates its Silverlight-infused Web mail beta

AOL's Silverlight-powered Web mail beta has some new features, including the option to watch attached videos in full screen. Find out what's up with this upcoming product.

AOL has updated its Silverlight-powered Web mail beta with a handful of small, but important features that bring it closer in functionality to its standard Web counterpart.

Users can now print e-mails they've received, add a standard signature that gets attached to every outgoing message, flag and filter messages, and watch WMV-formatted video that's been sent as an attachment in full screen using the embedded video player. This is actually one of the coolest features of the bunch, since it provides a quick thumbnail preview, then opens it in a player that comes up as an on-screen overlay. You are, however somewhat limited in what you can watch, since the attached videos need to fit into AOL's 16MB limit.

The beta still lags behind AOL's normal Web mail service. For instance, it does not let you save messages-in-progress as drafts, accessing the calendar and making changes requires going off-site, and it's only got three different themes to choose from as opposed to the normal service's 40 plus. You've also got to have the latest version of Silverlight installed, which has not been getting good press lately in the streaming-video department. For tools like this though, its fading menus and refresh-free page updates give the Web e-mail experience more wow-factor.

AOL is expected to launch this new version as an optional replacement for its standard service later this year.

The updated AOL Mail RIA beta shows you a quick preview of videos before you play them, and lets you watch in full-screen right in your browser. CNET Networks