AOL's newly updated Instant Messenger, AIM 6.0, puts social networking at its center. Firstly, every AIM user now gets their own profile page on AIM Pages (AOL's social network), and with no way to opt-out. That's right, you're now a member of AIM Pages whether you like it or not. As a result, AOL can claim to be one of the largest social networks - although only a fraction of those newly created accounts are likely to be active. Then, from within the AIM client, users have one click access to their profile page, and a 'Buddy Update Indicator' shows when any of their friends has made a change to their AIM Pages profile.
The good news is that, having forced users to join AIM Pages, AOL does play nicely with others. A fantastic new feature lets users create and share an RSS feed that aggregates all of their activities on other social websites - including YouTube, Digg, Flickr, MySpace, and Blogger. In fact, any site that provides an RSS feed can be added.
These new features transform AIM from being one of a number of competing Instant Messenger/ VoIP clients, to a social networking hub from which you can stay in touch with friends, and be kept up-to-date on all of their online activities.