What is AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)?


AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) is an instant messaging program which uses the messaging protocols OSCAR and TOC to enable communication in real time.

It was made available for the first time by AOL in May 1997. The official client developed by AOL is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

AIM, maintained and developed by AOL, has a large share of the market for instant messaging programs, especially in the United States (52% of the total in 2006).


The development of AIM began in 1994, a first version of the functional program was inaugurated in 1995 for the employees of AOL, the program was opened to the general public in the month of May 1997.

Since version 2.0, AIM has included, in addition to the normal user-user messaging, the ability to have real chat and file sharing capabilities with your contacts via techniques like Peer-to-peer networks.

Version 4.3 introduced the storing of the contact list on the AOL server and allowed to have up to a maximum of 200 users in your contact list.

Moreover, starting from version 4.x the AIM client for Microsoft Windows has made available the possibility to play against others via the motor Wild Tangent.

The first version released by Wild Tangent not informed about the installation of the motor, the current versions do, as many software identify this engine as spyware.

The version 5.5 allowed Windows users to video conference with each other and with users of AIM using iChat Apple Computer, iChat AIM client was the first product from a third party to be officially recognized by AOL.

The version of AIM following the 5.9 was originally named AIM Triton. Compared to version 5.9, the code of Triton was rewritten entirely and included a new version of the engine user interface, called Boxely.

The first beta version of Triton (0.1.12) was only available for Windows XP for the first time in the development of AIM, the beta versions were made available on the home page of AIM to be tested by users and receive suggestions on how to improve them.

On 29 September 2006 it was renamed AIM Triton 6.0 and was made available a new beta version and the final version of the program was finally released on December 15.

Among the new features, the presence of the AIM Pages, advanced possibilities for customization and compatibility with programs and web sites with functionality of agenda thanks to the “Universal Address Book” produced by Plaxo.

In addition, this version has unified the away messages and updates the user profile into RSS feeds and introduced the ability to send messages to offline users; were also reintroduced other features previously eliminated by AOL.

With that version was also beginning to open AIM to developers, enabling the creation of plugins or custom AIM client for the operating systems Windows, Macintosh and Linux.

Version 6.1 introduced the lock on the screen the list of contacts, support the inclusion of images in the user profile and the ability to change the colors of the interface; Other improvements concern the handling of any screen names associated with each other, resolution some bugs and improved support for Windows Vista.

The version introduced support for status messages (similar to the messages of absence) and has significantly improved integration with mobile phones.

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