AOL is to offer free web-based email, initially to users of its AIM instant messaging client, then later to anyone. The move is designed to help it keep up with competitors Yahoo and MSN, which have long offered web-based email as a key portal feature. Even stealth portal Google has offered its own Gmail email service for over a year.
While AOL uses both Google's search-targeted and contextually-targeted ads, contextually-targeted ads won't be coming to email in the way that they do in Google's own Gmail. "That's creepy," said an AOL executive, about the planned move.
More in America Online to unveil free e-mail service from Reuters. Some more details about the service and how to sign-up are covered in AOL Launches Web-Based AIM Mail Beta Today from InformationWeek.