AOL previews new e-mail software

Similar to Communicator but enhanced…

The product, called “Fanfare,” is essentially an updated version of Communicator with new features such as media playback, a calendar and spyware protection. Fanfare is similar to Communicator but with more options on the navigation screen. For instance, a user can pull down a panel with Radio@AOL and its video player next to e-mail messages and instant-messaging “buddy” lists.

While Fanfare pulls more features from the AOL proprietary client onto Communicator, the company said the enhancements do not signify any changes in priorities for AOL. [CNET News.com]

Regardless of what they are saying this is a shift in play at AOL…

Fewer people want to play in proprietary places online… AOL has already started to push it’s own content out and is going to use more web based standards within to make it easier to move out when they want/need to.

IMAP support has been rolled out to allow people to use their AOL mail in the mail client of their choosing, but this is beyond Communicator, which already lets you use AOL Mail and Messenger without fully being logged into the service. Fanfare is pushing additional content features to the lite client which may indicate the beginning of a major change. Frankly I am not sure people really want this kind of email client, though I guess AOL won’t want it to be seen as just email plus features.

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