AIM Bets on Social Networks as Startups Reveal a New Spin on Metrics

AOL said at the TechCrunch50 conference this morning that it plans to release a host of AIM Lifestream products, including Mac and Windows desktop apps and mobile clients, on Sept. 22. AIM Lifestream marries the classic instant messenger system with support for social networks, such as Twitter, Flickr, Digg and Facebook, so users can check their friends’ updates on those sites directly on AIM. This is yet another example of a company revamping its product by tapping into the power of social networks. The paid AIM Lifestream iPhone app is already available for download, and the beta versions of the upcoming products can be found here.

Meanwhile, Facebook, in addition to announcing that it’s cash-flow positive, released a section for experimental features and applications on its site today that’s similar to Google Labs, called Facebook Prototypes. Instead of waiting for a feature or app to be fully baked before releasing it to the social network’s 300 million users, Facebook engineers can post their ideas for future features to Prototypes. Since the ideas in Prototypes aren’t officially incorporated into the Facebook platform, some may have bugs and not work properly.


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