AOL has been gradually rolling out its newly redesigned home page (click here to see it). The final change will be within the next few weeks. Gone are the bland earth tone colors that they copied from other successful sites. They have switched to a blue based theme now by default. You can still change the skins if you want.
AOL has also built in new social features, that allow users to access their Facebook, MySpace, AIM, Bebo and Twitter accounts directly from their page. The ability to use Facebook comes from their new Facebook Connect Service, which is used as an extension of their developer API. This should keep its users spending more time on AOL instead of trying to avoid having to use it. The new design also includes a section to add bookmarks on the top left hand portion of the screen, and there is even a feed reader included thanks to their recent acquisition of Sphere.
AOL has stated that this is just the beginning, and that more social types of sites will be added to their lineup in the near future. Earlier this year AOL acquired SocialThing. It will be interesting to see how it fits into their new plan. Should AOL’s users be as reluctant to change as Facebook’s, they even have an option to switch back to the classic view. Who would actually want change and progression anyways.
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