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AOL Releases ICQ 5 IM System

New version includes enhanced voice and video messaging services.

InformationWeek Staff

March 21, 2005

1 Min Read

America Online today announced ICQ 5, a new version of its instant messaging service that includes new voice messaging features and a video instant messaging service.

The product's new Walkie-Talkie voice service enables instant chat between ICQ users. The system is touted as being "always on" and sports audio emoticons that are said to make the voice experience more fun to use. Users can just "ping" each other, or maintain a continuous connection all day long.

While the Walkie-Talkie service requires users to take turns talking, ICQ's new Voice Chat service uses VoIP technology to create more normal, and longer, conversations across the systems network. Also included as part of ICQ 5's Voice Chat service is a video messaging system.

"All that required is a web cam," said ICQ general manager Orey Gilliam, "and any user create his or her own messaging style within ICQ 5's service offering, whether it's text, voice, video, or all three." In order to make the service safer, ICQ has added new spim controls designed to make it easier for users to shut down attempts to send them unwanted messages.

Also included in the new offering is a new set of "skins" that enable more flexible personalization of the ICQ environment. "We plan to offer even more of them in the future," said Gilliam. There are also new icons that let users tell members of their ICQ buddy lists what their status is without using text messages.

For more information and to download ICQ 5, visit www.icq.com.

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