Interesting times -- I suspect the final chapter for AOL will come in 2008 (e.g., spun-off from Time Warner and acquisition fodder in the broader Google/Microsoft/Yahoo competitive landscape)
Google’s $1 billion investment in AOL may not have been the most financially savvy move as an investment. (Most analysts think AOL is worth far less than the $20 billion value that Google put on it.) But Google did get some payoff today.
Now Gmail users can have instant-message conversations with users of AOL’s AIM system. (Here is Google’s blog post on this.) Google’s standalone message system, Google Talk, has not been a big hit. Then it started integrating its instant message system in a column on the left margin of Gmail, and it is picking up some more users.
Still, in the United States, AIM continues to be the dominant instant-message system by far. A typical teenager is chatting away on AIM, even as he or she trolls MySpace or Facebook for dates.