America Online Inc yesterday said it would launch on Friday a new publishing tool to link a user’s blogging activities with their instant messaging. The idea is that their buddy list would be pinged when the user posts a new blog entry.
The new tool, which will be an alpha or experimental product, will be based on open standards so that all developers can use it to create IM-blog modules, said Jim Bankoff, executive VP of AOL programming and products, during the VON conference yesterday in San Jose, California.
The tool is part of AOL’s offensive strategy to combat increasing competitive threats from new social networks, such as the popular MySpace.com.
AOL is attempting to leverage what Bankoff claims is the largest instant messaging network in the industry. That’s the ultimate social network, he said.
Connecting content creation with social networking real-time communications – we definitely see that’s where the future is going, he said.
AOL also is turning toward new online video features, Bankoff said. The company’s coming-out party, of sorts, with IP video was during the Live8 benefit concert last July, where users could choose to view any of the event’s multiple shows that were performed simultaneously.
While AOL had been preparing this feature for many years, Bankoff said the company was not prepared for the positive response it got. We were able to make it into a mass-market phenomenon.
Of course, a large part of why it made such a splash was the glib commentary of cable broadcast presenters during of the most highly anticipated event of the concert – the reunion of Pink Floyd. Many thousands of outraged viewers turned to AOL’s coverage to see the unabridged version.
Looking ahead, AOL plans to create a platform on which all shapes and forms of content can be live on and be consumed, Bankoff said. Those platforms will be a way for users to search, share, personalize and integrate online services.
Ad-supported revenue will drive this media-content strategy for AOL, he said. And, ultimately, consumers will decide with their wallets which of those services will be free, he said.