You've Got Mail: I just created an AOL Mail account

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 27, 2012

AOL, which was previously known as America Online, announced today that they have released an update for their mail service AOL Mail. According to AOL, that email service has 24 million users which may not look like much when compared to the hundreds of million Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo Mail users, but it is still making AOL one of the largest mail providers on the planet.

I can't really compare the new design to the old, since I have never used it. To be frank, I did not really know that AOL was still offering its email service thinking that the company went full steam ahead with its tech acquisition strategy. As with every change, it is likely that part of the existing user base does not like it.

Still, when I opened my account after signing up I saw a well designed interface. It took a while to realize that AOL pushed me into the basic interface, and when I clicked on the link to switch to the standard interface I was welcomed with a message that told me that my browser was not supported. Now, I do not know if this was because of using NoScript, or because of using Firefox Nightly at that time. Still, a link was displayed that allowed me to keep the standard interface.

Here is the lite version screenshot,

aol mail light

and here a screenshot of the standard version.

aol mail standard

The lite version lists contacts and a calendar link, but not advanced features that only the standard version offers. You can for instance use the built-in chat to chat on AIM (which supports Facebook Chat), send text messages to any U.S. phone for free from your inbox, or customize the interface with different styles and themes.

If you do not like the fancy default theme you can switch to a number of themes, including classic AOL mail or a high contrast theme.

aol mail

When you look behind the curtain you will notice that AOL Mail comes with a solid set of features. From IMAP and POP3 support and various spam filter settings to mobile clients for iPhone, Android and Blackberry, mail filters, alerts and options to transfer mails and contacts from other mail accounts to AOL.

And what about the classic AOL You've got mail message? It is unfortunately - or thankfully - not integrated into the program anymore. If you are too young to remember, here is the sound again that AOL played every time you received an email.

I have to admit that I like what I'm seeing with the exception of the Today on AOL folder that is displayed above your inbox and on the frontpage when you open the mail interface. It is too early to judge the mail client though, and I run a series of tests in the next couple weeks. To begin, I'd invite all of you - and the spammers out there - to write me emails to

Are you a user of AOL Mail? If so, feel free to share your experience. You can read more about the relaunch in this press release or on the AOL Mail Tour site.


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  1. Andrew said on July 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I use my aol/aim email primarily as a backup email for my domains and hosting (since all my email addresses are my domains through google apps) and because it was just given to me with my AIM SN that I made some 14 years ago. I like the simple interface and it seems to be less annoying than Yahoo’s. They recently seem to really try to take the minimal approach, especially with their AIM client.

    It’s not too bad of a web based service, but still I prefer gmail for its functionality.

  2. Midnight said on July 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Try to be somewhat Professional when posting here or anywhere, as it indicates that you lack class and of course,…. professionalism!!

    I was being sarcastic re: the AOL CDs, fyi and was merely reminding the readers here of AOL’s old procedures to drum up business.

    I never lived under any rock or anywhere so low, but perhaps you have!

    Time for you to lighten up and develop a sense of humor.
    Learn to read between the lines! :)

  3. KRS said on July 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I have a second email account (in my case, Yahoo) for use in case I lose Gmail access and have to have a new password sent to an address I can still get to. It’s saved me several times.

    For me, that’s the only reason to keep more than one account. Yahoo is simple, free and (once I block the more obnoxious ads) uncluttered.

  4. Gianluca said on July 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Wait… i still have the orrible “You’ve got mail” sound notification.

    1. Midnight said on July 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      I get that in ICQ mail, since AOL bough ICQ some years ago.
      Not even sure if anybody still uses that IM! :)

  5. Anonymous said on July 27, 2012 at 5:58 am

    The evolution of the Internet has come a long way since the height of the AOL era… thank goodness!

    1. Midnight said on July 27, 2012 at 6:58 am

      No kidding! It sure has!
      AOL was so far behind the times, even at their time, so that says it all! :)

      1. Transcontinental said on July 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

        Calling someone idiot is embarrassing for everyone :)

      2. Mav said on July 27, 2012 at 7:35 am

        Midnight you are an idiot. You seem to have lived under a rock for probably the last 6 years. AOL doesn’t come on cd anymore and their business is also not based on that dial up stuff. Educate yourself for christs sake before embarrassing yourself on the Internet!

  6. Midnight said on July 27, 2012 at 4:17 am

    AOL=America Off Line!

    Are they still around? I thought they went belly up a long time ago!

    Watch out they don’t start sending you their famous CDs with Internet access on their own interface that cannot be uninstalled!

    Avoid AOL like the plague!!

  7. Matt said on July 27, 2012 at 1:56 am

    I still keep my ancient AOL email from aeons ago active. I use it mostly for newsletters or commenting on suspicious sites, like Ghacks. :-P

    The new look is meh. The immediate differences to me are the Web 2.0-ification of the buttons (they’re super late on that unfortunate trend) and the giant ad on the right edge– which, thanks to Adblock, is just a big, blank area that I can’t reduce ATM.

    1. cezi said on July 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      “big, blank area that I can’t reduce ”
      sometimes it can be done = Element Hiding Helper , Remove it Permanently (RIP) addons

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