BetaNews has learned that America Online has begun beta testing the next generation of its AOL Instant Messaging software called "Triton," which will replace the existing AIM client. Triton addresses user grievances while adding highly anticipated bells and whistles including tabbed messaging and chat logging.
As the first major overhaul to AIM since its inception, Triton introduces an entirely new, simplified user interface that adopts contemporary elements such as tabbed message windows to switch between different modes of communication. Users can also corral all chat sessions into a single, tabbed window dubbed "IM Catcher."
The Triton client imports features such as mini Buddy Icons from AOLs client software and contains several idiosyncrasies of its own like Flash-based animated smiley backgrounds that augment user personalization.
Underneath its new veneer, Triton has been completely rewritten from the ground up to support advanced communications services such as Voice over IP (VoIP) Internet telephony.
More specifically, AIM will directly connect with AOLs Internet Phone Service. Triton will not be able to dial out at this time, but that capability will arrive in a future iteration of the client.