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What Is American Online?

America Online also known as AOL, is one of the world's primary internet service providers specializing in interactive services, Web brands, Internet and information technologies and e-commerce services. There mission is “to build a global medium as central to peoples lives as the telephone or television …and even more valuable” (AOL).

Brief Description

American online is a 9 billion dollar coporation ranking as second largest online and communication service provider owned and managed by Time Warner. It was first formed in 1985 and has climbed to the top of the charts as one of the most successful service providers in existence. Although it is an American operated company many of the 32 million subscribers are located in Canada, Japan, and UK, although their numbers dropped 10 million in 2005 with the withdrawal of Hong Kong’s services (wikipedia).

With the introduction of any technology or service the start up rate and versatility would be limited, for many users America online was nothing more than internet. Although with constant upgrades and sophistication of the service such as the upgrading of speed it has expanded in its user’s base. In 2001 it was announced that AOL has merged with 43 billion dollar corporation Time Warner.

Recent News have it that successful competitors such as Google, Yahoo, Comcast, and Microsoft, have interest in buying out AOL which Google has taken it upon themselves to own 5% shares of AOL, stock (Wikipedia).

The emergence of new technologies can be overwhelming while AOL dedicates itself to its users that are new to computers and internet technology. AOL established itself as the primary online service that needed the use of proprietary software rather than a terminal program which in essence provided graphical user interface(wikipedia).
AOL has committed itself to excellence by providing chat rooms, online gaming, text games, and play by email.

Timeline of Significant Historical Moments

Moments of Clarity
May 24th 1985
Founding Date under the name Quantum Computer Services
October 1989
Provides services for Macintosh
October 1991
Changes its name to America Online
February 21st 1995
Members exceed 2 million
October 30th 1995
Launch of GNN, ISP
May 1996
AOL UK,Canada and France take off
June 17 1997
Launches WorldPlay entertainment
December 16 1997
Members outside the US surpasses 1 million
January 12 1999
AOL and Bell Atlantic announce merge to provide High speed internet services
Ocotober 1st 2001
Launces AOL Latino
April 2002
Motorola and Nextal show interest in developing a wireless connection for instant messaging purposes
March 16th 2004
With their numerous billing disputes they develop an online way of maintaining and keeping track of their billing information and minutes used
December 20th 2005
Google and AOL discuss their relationship
January 27th 2006
AOL expans its broadband network from coast-to-coast services
*Dates provided by AOL Corp.com


In the end of 2004, BBC and AOL announced their alliance. Broadband members who have AOL will have online access to compelling entertainment and educational video programs from BBC's vast archive using BBC’s Motion Gallery.

BBC’s Motion Gallery also includes collections of wild animal video footage, news and historical clips. These information/videos are available through AOL's Research & Learn channel. It is a comprehensive source for trusted brand name education resources for homework help and college prep as well as entertaining science, history and books content and community.

Chris Johnson, who is the Executive Director of Research & Learn says,
"Our members love nature and history, and we are thrilled to provide them with video content from BBC's award-winning wildlife and historical collection. This alliance exemplifies our commitment to give AOL for Broadband members the best premium video content available online based on their interests."

AOL for Broadband is the best source for entertainment and information on the Internet. It includes programming and features exclusive to AOL for Broadband members. Consumers nationwide can simply add the AOL for Broadband service to any high-speed DSL or cable Internet connection if they have existing high-speed access through their local phone, cable TV or Internet provider.

The full line up of video content available to AOL for Broadband members includes:

"Animal Odysseys"
Marathon travelers in nature, including birds, insects and others, are followed on their incredible journeys, unraveling some of the great mysteries of migration.

"Animal Warriors"
Integrates material from the BBC's Natural History Unit, with contemporary graphics to illustrate how animals are trained from birth and armed with a wide range of natural weapons to protect them in their daily battle for survival.

"Creature Features"
Animated and live-action footage of wild animals are combined in this whimsical series that explores creatures with the most unusual anatomical features.

"Days that Shook the World"
Historical series that covers major events that shaped the 20th century: from the Hindenburg crash to Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon, among others.

"Did you Know?"
Frequently asked questions and more are answered in this educational series.

"First Steps"
This series explores the thrills and pitfalls of the first steps in the life of young animals, including elephants, orangutans, sea horses, lions, penguins and more.

"Wild Worlds"
These shorts feature uninhabited locales around the planet, revealing the breathtaking beauty and unclaimed life of the last outposts of the natural world.

Eyewitnesses deliver their first-hand accounts of key historical moments.

AOL Features and Services

external image logo_aoldotcom.gifWeb access made the way today’s consumers like with video and audio features building a strong communication zone.

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Much like MSN messenger AIM is an instant messenger as well as email bringing together the millions of AOL users in a virtual online community. AIM can be accessed through different types of mediums such as their mobile devices.

external image sm_logo_mapquest.gif For many of us with bad directions we have relied on MapQuest to direct us to our destination, AOL operates map quest as the leading online mapping service.

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AOL mobile allows instant messenger, explorer, as well as Mapquest available from the convenience of your mobile device.

external image sm_logo_cityguide.gifAOL City Guide is the key to your local entertainment and news.

external image sm_logo_icq.gifMuch like AIM and MSN messenger ICQ is an international way of instant messaging with many different features such as emoticons, address books, calendar’s etc.

external image sm_logo_moviefone.gif MovieFone is a way in which AOL allows the public to view information about movies and movie listings.

external image sm_logo_instore.gif For the time constrained people shopping has become even easier with AOL in Store which provides you with online quality products at reasonable prices.

Images brought to you courtesy of AOL.com

Legal Issues

Along with success there are some obstacles that you have to overcome such as law suites. AOL has had their share of billing disputes where they are accused of charging customers with fees after their accounts have been removed. Much like cell phone bills AOL has seen much controversy of the way in which they calculate used minutes. With much examination and disputes AOL customers were credited for the extra minutes they were charged for. In 2004 AOL has improved their confusing minute calculations that allow the customers to view how long they have been online and what exactly they are getting billed for (wikipedia).

In terms of AOL software in 2000 there has been $8 billion lawsuit against them claiming that AOL’s 5.0 version caused numerous problems. The case did not make it to trial as AOL toke it upon themselves to make a settlement of $15 million dollars (wikipedia).

Works Cited

America Online. 2006. American Online.Source,

"America Online." Wikipedia. 24 Feb. 2006. 20 Feb. 2006Source.

All Images Provided by Source

"BBC to Provide Video Content to AOL for Broadband.” Pluginz.com. Accessed February 26, 2006. Source