One of the first chat apps in the era of the internet, AOL instant Messenger is going to shut down after 20 years of its inception. AOL Instant Messenger, shortly AIM has dominated the online chat in the US at the end of the century, but later, in the revolution of smartphones and Short Messaging Services, also with the entry of social apps like Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp have conquered the chat industry, AOL started to give up the fight with no plan to replacement to their old way to chat.
So, it is the end of an era. The Verizon-owned AOL had announced on Friday that it going to shut down the AOL Instant Messenger service in December 2017.
In a separate statement, AOL had informed that the current and the past AIM users with an email that they will be able to use their service till the shut-down date, after which all the data will be deleted forever. AIM.com, the domain name and the email addresses won’t be affected since they are effectively just the aliases for the AOL mail.
AOL had been offering the instant messaging service within its own online client, but later, it had launched a standalone app for AIM in 1997 May. The app had competed at the time with the other messaging services in the market back then which also includes the ICQ and the MSN from Microsoft, but quickly became the most popular messaging in the United States.
Many features that attracted the users towards using the AIM app was the buddy list that could be organized to keep track of the dozens, if not hundreds of contacts, and a profile page and an away status message. In many ways, the latter two preceded many of today’s social networks.
Even after entry of smartphone era, AIM was popular with the other users because of the existence of the countless of the third-party clients, many among which are offered some of the additional functionality, or they aimed to merge multiple chat and the messaging services in one app alone. And then in the year 2000, a startup tried to piggyback on AIM to launch a file sharing service called as AIMster which later billed itself as a replacement of Napster. However, AIMster was sued by the recording industry and finally shut down in the year 2002.
AIM also happens to be one of the first platforms for bots that could be used to access news, play text-based games and much more. It is an idea which was reborn in recent years for the messaging on Facebook and elsewhere.
The best reason why AIM is still remembered is for its running man, which was initially introduced as the services’ logo in the year 1997 and then eventually made it into the AOL TV ads via aolmail.com
The first chat experience was built into the AOL desktop, AIM has launched this as a standalone app in the year 1997. The messenger has this feature called Away Messages which were the ancestor to the modern tweet and status update. It battled for the supremacy for its various other competitors like ICQ, MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, but finally got the hit with the text messaging, Google’s GChat and Facebook then took the whole market a big turn while the AIM never had a solution for the competition that was coming from the biggies like WhatsApp. This led to the fall of AOL from grace, going from being valued at $224 billion in today’s money to just $4.4 billion when it was sold to Verizon in the year 2015. The same year, another messaging service, WhatsApp was sold to Facebook at the same time for more than $19 billion dollars.