AOL Launches Next-Gen VoIP-IM Service

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Instant messaging by definition is all about messaging. It's now indisputably about Voice over IP (define)too, thanks to a new VoIP service and new Triton IM preview client announced today by America Online (Quote, Chart).

AOL said its Total Talk VoIP service, which will be available on October 4th in the US and Canada, offering full featured VoIP services to broadband users of any broadband service.

Total Talk is the successor to AOL Internet Phone, which was a VoIP service just for users of AOL. Total Talk offers the typical range of of residential VoIP services such as Caller Id, E911, three-way calling and a web based dashboard for call and voice mail management.

Not all of what AOL Total Talk is offering is typical VoIP fare though.

"We offer a very rich set of features that none of our competitors matches," VP & GM of AOL Voice Services Ragui Kamel told InternetNews.com.

Kamel explained that AOL Voice Mail actually emails the voice mail to users as an MP3 file. Users can also be alerted to new messages via SMS messaging on their cell phones. As well, the service allows for multiple extensions running of the same phone number. "That in itself adds a huge amount of value," Kamel said.

And then there's Triton.

Total Talk uses AOL's next generation IM client (AIM) Triton as its softphone application. In a separate announcement today, AOL announced that it will be releasing a preview version of Triton later this week. Triton has been in Beta since April.

"If you are a registered Total Talk subscriber and you Launch AIM Triton you get a dialpad at the bottom," Kamel explained. "The softphone is integrated with the AIM AOL address book which in turn has integration via Plaxo. It also provides click to call functionality right from the address book."

AOL announced the deal to integrate Plaxo back in July. Plaxo is a Web-based contact management service that aims to keep all of a users contacts synchronized and up to date.

The integration of Triton and Total Talk extends AOL's IM voice capability from PC-to-PC calling from computers to landlines such as PC to PSTN calling or calling a mobile phone.

AOL is also expected to launch another VoIP related product called AIM Talk Plus in the coming soon section of the AIM Triton Preview Edition which will be a PC-to-Phone and Phone-to-PC service that is expected to beta test in the Triton client at the end of this year.

The new Triton preview will also include an improved Video over IM feature that InternetNews first reported on earlier this month.

Triton is AOL's next generation IM client and includes an evolving list of features not found in AOL general release AIM 5.9 client. Triton has been used by over 40,000 testers since it first entered beta testing. According to an AOL spokesperson, the beta period has been very successful with additional features being added to the modular client approximately every two weeks.

Though AOL is apparently the first to market this year with PSTN termination for IM based VoIP (with the Total Talk integration) it's likely not the only public IM space player that will enter the space. Yahoo! in June acquired VoIP to PSTN play Dialpad Communications and is also expected to be rolling those features into its IM client which has recently been renamed Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.

At the end of August, Microsoft bought VoIP play Teleo and is expected to integrate those features into its MSN Messenger client.

http://www.internetnews.com/infra/article.php/3550256
 

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