AOL Instant Messenger

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AOL Instant Messenger, often abbreviated to AIM, allows users to communicate instantly through text to their "buddies" around the world, provided they have the AIM software. AIM has 100 million users. It is easy to locate these users by visiting chatrooms that AOL has set up solely for those purposes. Chat topics range from N Sync to Current Affairs. AOL also has a member directory where AIM users can locate others online who share their interests.

Recent versions of AIM have not only included person-to-person text messaging, and chatroom messaging, but also the ability to share files peer-to-peer with your buddies (unlike Napster, and other peer-to-peer software, there is no directory of files, you only transfer files to one another as one would in an email), and to play games against one another (currently only available to Windows users). All of your buddies are stored on AOL's servers, so you can talk to your buddies from any computer with internet access, provided you have the software, or even use AIM Express which uses Java in a pop-up window in your browser that allows the basic functions of person-to-person text messaging.

The software is free, and is avalible for Windows, Mac, Linux, Windows CE, Palm Pilot and AIM Express is available to anyone with a Java enabled browser.

To download AIM, or find out more information go to http://www.aim.com/.