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AOL: Hey, we've got e-mail too!

It must irk the hell out of AOL---a company that actually had a movie named after its "You've Got Mail" message---that the company can't even crowbar its way into a passing comment ahead of Facebook's e-mail launch.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Ahead of Facebook's highly anticipated e-mail launch Monday, AOL wants you to know that it also has e-mail. The company announced "Project Phoenix," a preview of the new AOL Mail.

The timing of the announcement is curious---noon on a Sunday---but it's not so strange when you consider AOL is trying to get out in front of Facebook's e-mail launch. What's the big deal? This Facebook email effort has been referred to as a Gmail killer. If Gmail isn't mentioned then Yahoo Mail and Hotmail are noted as potential Facebook casualties. It must irk the hell out of AOL---a company that actually had a movie named after its "You've Got Mail" message---that the company can't even crowbar its way into a passing comment.

Enter this Project Phoenix release. AOL gets 45 percent of its page views from e-mail, which is a nice chunk of change. In a statement, Brad Garlinghouse, said Project Phoenix is the beginning of an effort to "disrupt email in a big way."

Among the moving parts of AOL's e-mail revamp:

  • Quick Bar allows you to send e-mail, instant messages and Facebook and Twitter updates.
  • Smart View highlights most important information on the right.
  • Aggregation puts other services---Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail in your AOL inbox.
  • And single click searches.

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