AOL Announces New Improved Version of Webmail
“Over the past year, we have been continually adding new features and functionality to improve our Web-based mail product,” said Kevin Conroy, Executive Vice President, AOL Products and Marketing. “With this release, we’re offering consumers something they can’t get from any other e-mail provider, including easy access to third-party e-mail and content, mobile sync, and full integration with AIM, delivering relevant mail, messaging and content to users all in one place.”
AOL Web Mail’s new plug-in gallery will offer more than 30 plug-ins and gadgets, including four plug-ins showcasing AOL's use of Google’s open standard for container development. Users can place an unlimited number of plug-ins on a customizable toolbar on the right-hand side of the page, providing easy access to AIM, popular websites third-party e-mail accounts, stock updates, weather and more. In addition, users can choose from more than 45 new “skins” or themes to personalize the Web Mail page.
According to Richard Landsman, Senior Vice President, AOL Mail, customization opportunities are key to AOL’s long-term strategy. “We are trying to make the mail experience as personal and relevant as possible,” Landsman said. “By creating galleries with new themes, gadgets and plug-ins, we can offer users the opportunity to customize and populate their page with favorite content and applications, while also offering advertisers a chance to build and engage audiences with branded themed experiences and gadgets."
For now, third-party developers can sign-up on http://dev.aol.com/mail for more information on creating plug-ins.
The newest version of AOL Web Mail also includes over-the-air mobile sync of AOL Calendar and Address Book, allowing users to make real-time updates to both applications from a variety of wireless devices including the BlackBerry and iPhone. With these new sync capabilities, the AOL Address Book and Calendar becomes the desktop hub for syncing multiple devices and data sources. In addition, this version of the product includes true iCal support, giving users the opportunity to create a calendar or subscribe to an existing one from a third-party provider.
Users who wish to access this updated version of Web Mail can go to beta.webmail.aol.com, and use it with an existing AOL or AIM e-mail account, or using an e-mail address created through http://www.tunome.com, which offers over 150 custom domains. The product will be available for general release in January.