AOL just put out a press release announcing updates to AOL Mail.
Weird timing, since it’s 12 pm eastern on a Sunday, which is not exactly the prime time for news.
Maybe it is just trying to get the jump on Facebook which is expected to announce its email product on Monday.
Regardless, the updates to AOL Mail sound nice enough, but we’re not sure it will be enough to stem the decline in users, illustrated in the chart on the right. At this point, AOL.com email addresses just aren’t cool, and we don’t think AOL can do much to change that.
One striking bit of news in the press release: AOL Mail is 45% of the page views on the AOL network. The decline in mail users is a real problem.
Mike Arrington of Tech Crunch previously reported this news, but here it is in official press release form:
On the heels of the launch of the new AOL.com and several new local content initiatives, AOL Inc. today unveiled a preview of the new AOL Mail, code-named Project Phoenix. This is a major milestone in AOL’s overall efforts to reinvent its products and deliver on its commitment to provide the best consumer experiences on the Internet. Phoenix was designed and built from the ground up as an innovative and intuitive email solution that fits the way consumers communicate today. AOL Mail remains an important part of AOL’s business; in fact it represents 45 per cent of the page views on the AOL network today.(1)
“Email remains one of the most vital communication tools despite all of the new sites and apps available to consumers today,” said Brad Garlinghouse, President of AOL’s Consumer Applications Group. “There is still so much innovation to be done in the space and Project Phoenix is just the beginning. We see a huge opportunity to disrupt email in a big way. AOL is the company that brought everyone online, and now we’re making it simpler and more enjoyable to be there.”
Project Phoenix is a fast and fresh new experience. Users will notice a streamlined design that is both visually appealing and intuitive in nature. Other notable features of Project Phoenix include:
Quick Bar – makes it easy to quickly send emails, instant or text messages and even update Facebook and Twitter via Lifestream directly from the inbox. Smart View – prominently displays important information like maps, attached photos and files, and conversation threads on the right hand side of the inbox so users can see relevant details and files before they even open a message. Email aggregation – makes it is easy to receive and send messages from almost any provider, including GMail, Yahoo! Mail, and Hotmail, right inside your AOL inbox. Single-click search – makes it easy to search across any folder and all email accounts and instantly refine the search by clicking simple options that appear dynamically next to the search results. Free access to premium service – includes customer support for each email account along with unlimited storage, a choice of POP or IMAP email service, and support for email attachments of up to 25MB.
In conjunction with the preview, AOL will offer consumers the opportunity to get the email address of their choice by offering more options for name structures and new domains like love.com, wow.com and games.com. The full product will be released early next year, but interested users can sign up to request an invitation to the beta today.
For more information about Project Phoenix go to phoenix.aol.com.