AOL, Robots, and Search

AOL to promote Aim Robots
Source: ComputerWeekly.com

It appears that AOL is beginning a push to build more instant messaging robots.

Huh?

“Aim Robots are sponsored and operated by AOL and other suppliers and appear as buddy icons in the buddy lists of Aim users who install them. For example, users can send an instant message to the AOLYellowpages Aim Robot with the name of a local business or with simply a keyword and the robot replies with related directory listings.”

“Robot” technology is nothing new, its been around since 2002. In fact, I tried Smart Buddy, an AIM robot tool back then.

With the growing popularity of instant messaging along with more and more interest in vertical search tools, it will be interesting to see if AOL partners with some of these services to create search robots like the directory robot mentioned above. Would the search companies be interested? I know some have tried it before.

How about the Feedster robot or the IMDB robot? Will companies like Dialog and Factiva get involved since
instant messaging is growing in the business world?

Finally, it’s easy to realize that “answer engine” technology and IM robots will get along famously. Coupling an “answer engine” with a IM robot also might make sense for mobile searching.

Here’s a list of the AIM robots that are currently available.

UPDATE: We’ve learned that just today CitySearch released an AIM robot. They also offer a search-by-email option.

It’s also worth noting that the new version of Yahoo Instant Messenger allows you to search directly from the IM client.

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