AOL Instant Messenger Upgrade Enables Shared Playlists

AOL is now offering an instant messenger upgrade that enables shared, streaming playlists.

AIM 6.5 allows a plug-in, AIM Tunes, which shares the collections of friends.  The Windows-based release allows streaming on unprotected tracks only, a non-issue for many music fans.  The result is a private channel, and a highly-customized streaming radio station.

The music enhancement is just one of several upgrades, including a number of messaging enhancements.  AIM 6.5 allows text messaging from the chat client, and users can also broadcast messages to groups of friends.  Of course, AIM remains incompatible with rival systems like Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger, as well as a recently-launched instant messenger from MySpace.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.