Review of AIMSync for Outlook

Many companies have seen the value of using AIM (or some form of messaging) as an internal communications tool. I know we have. We use it to shoot notes around about projects, organize lunch outings and various other tasks. Most of us use Trillian because it offers logging, which is important when you need to go back and grab that URL someone sent you that you forgot to bookmark.

Some of you may have seen the press release on EWeek or BetaNews about AOL releasing an application called AIM Sync. The purpose of this application, still in Beta, was to plugin to Outlook 2002 and 2003 and allow you to see when contacts are logged in to AOL Instant Messenger.

It is very similar to how MSN integrates with Outlook Express, showing your MSN buddy list in the OE interface.

AIM Sync opens a pane on the left side of the interface that shows you when someone logs on or off. To do this, it allows you to add your contact’s screenname to their contact listing. You can show who is online by using their screenname or cellphone number.

We decided to give this a try here at the office, and I am sad to report it was not pretty. It seemed to not load correctly into Outlook 2003, often throwing an error of one kind or another. Today, it actually froze up one of the computers it was running on. This was an old-fashioned “Windows 98 cursor freeze – hold down the power button until it shuts down” kind of lockup.

I am sure they are still working through some technical glitches since it is in Beta, and maybe others have had more success with this early release, but I think we will be holding off for a while until there is a definite stable release.

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