AOL Prepares Version 9 Update

Call it keeping up with the Internet Joneses, or maybe with MSN and Yahoo: America Online's latest update to its client service, AOL 9.0 Optimized, sports a new look and functions, from a blogging tool to a messaging spam filter and firewall. America Online is tight-lipped about the final release date of AOL 9.0 Optimized, saying only the software could be ready for the AOL masses as early as August. But if you're an AOL member champing at the bit for a look at the next version, you can test a prerelease version of the software by typing the keyword "beta."

The qualifier "Optimized" is added to AOL 9.0 to underscore three areas of focus, according to AOL representatives. The update optimizes safety and security, ease of use, and "bringing the fun back," according to Kerry Pearce-Parkins, a principal product manager with AOL. "In a very literal sense, we have optimized the AOL experience," she says. AOL touts the release as the "most significant upgrade in AOL history." A review of the client shows a solid improvement over AOL 8, but the revamp is hardly the major update that AOL promotes it as. Unfortunately, many of its anticipated new features, such as the AOL Journal, instant-messaging blocker, and a dial-up acceleration tool, are not available in the beta.

News source: PCWorld

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