AOL's AIM on Wednesday became the first instant messaging service to leverage Facebook's new Chat application programming interface that makes IM communications across platforms possible. AOL has made the integration available as a beta service.
The new service extends AOL's current integration with the social network, which includes the ability to connect to Facebook through AOL's homepage. In addition, Facebook can be added to AOL's social aggregator service, called Lifestream. Roughly 70% of AOL users also use Facebook, according to AOL.
"Integrating AIM and Facebook Chat is a great step on the path we're pursuing to offer universal access through AIM across a variety of communications platforms -- and users can look forward to more innovations to come," Michelle Trainor, VP of AIM, said in a statement.
AOL, an early Web pioneer, is trying to make a comeback as a standalone company after a disastrous merger with Time Warner about a decade ago. Time Warner spun off AOL in December.
In February 2000, when the merger took place, the joint company was valued at $164 billion. Following the split, AOL was valued at $2.5 billion and Time Warner $36 billion, according to The New York Times VentureBeat blog.
AOL is led by chief executive Tim Armstrong, a former Google executive. Armstrong hopes to build AOL's advertising and content, which have fallen behind rivals. In the spinoff, AOL kept valuable assets like its AOL.com home pages, Mapquest navigation, and Endgadget blog.