AOL’s Been Set Free, But Do We Care?
While there has been talk of AOL making its services free, it looks as if AOL has already started. It appears you get everything that AOL offers except for access to dial up and access to customer service. I haven’t messed with the AOL service in years, so I figured I might as well get a “free” account and see if it’s worth the trouble.
I poked around a bit and for sure AOL has a lot of content. It really looks like most of the content these days is webified, meaning you can use a normal web browser to get most of the content. In fact, the AOL client, at least on the Mac, looks like not much more than a glorified web browser. Maybe there’s some unique content within the “walled garden” of AOL that might be of value to someone, but most of what I could see wasn’t worth having to use the special AOL software for.
One thing that might be worthwhile to look at would be the AOL Firewall/Antivirus/Spyware software, but only if you have Windows 2000 or XP. I have no idea how it compares with other “free” software, or if it works outside of the confines of the AOL client. There are other alternatives out there that are also free, so don’t make this your only reason for signing up for a “free” AOL account.
The verdict? I’ll probably play with it a little more, but I can’t imagine I’ll use it that much, if at all. The good news is that I didn’t have to enter any credit card information for the “free” account, so even if I never use it again, I won’t be paying forever and ever for something I don’t use.
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