AOL launches India portal with trendy features

Thursday, 26 April 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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Bangalore: American Online (AOL), a division of the $44-billion Time Warner, Thursday launched its India portal to offer next generation e-mail service with unlimited storage and spam blocking.

As AOL's first web site - - outside the US and Europe, it offers a host of web services such as instant messenger, Google search, videos, channels like Bollywood, CityGuide, education, international music and access to mobile devices for e-mails, chat and downloads.

"Our next-generation e-mail service is the first of its kind being offered worldwide on AOL even before its introduction in the US and Europe. Our Indian software development team played a key role in developing the software for this unique mail service," AOL president and chief operating officer (COO) Ron Grant told reporters at a preview here.

Besides regular features, the portal provides users a wide range of content, including video and special channels dedicated to news, movies, cricket, sport, Hollywood and an online advice from experts in all walks of life under the Guru channel.

"Our easy-to-use e-mail service has high security protection against viruses and industry-led spam blocking. The messenger service comes with unique features such as offline messages, picture sharing, personalization, grouped messaging and access to multiple e-mail IDs," Grant pointed out.

As Time Warner's subsidiary, with $7.9 billion in revenues and $2.6 billion in operating income, the user-friendly portal will soon launch mobile communication and infotainment suite for Wap mail to access mails on mobile device and extend the messenger to devices such as SMS. It also enables GPRS services and downloads such as wallpaper, ring tones, games, animations and videos.

AOL executive vice-president (international) Maneesh Dhir said by launching the India-centric portal, AOL was making a strong statement about the importance of India to its global firm in the online world.

"As India's online world grows and matures, the needs of online consumers are evolving rapidly. Our portal has been built to meet the diverse needs of millions of online users in the sub-continent," Dhir noted.

According to an online study by comScore, a third-party vendor tracking the Internet traffic worldwide, the number of net users in the sub-continent (India) is projected to touch 145 million by 2010 from 45 million netizens in 2006.

"We have decided to kick-start our online operations in APAC from India, where the growth in web services and web advertising is estimated to be fastest in the region.

With increasing PC penetration, highest mobile connections, largest number of English-speaking citizens in the region, India is an important and strategic market for us outside the US and Europe," Grant asserted.

As an operating firm, AOL Interactive Media India Ltd will be tying up with a number of mobile service providers to offer e-mail, messenger, chat, news, music downloads, etc to its dedicated users.

Having entered India five years ago (2002), the global web services firm has a software development centre in Bangalore to develop applications and products, a knowledge centre for business analysis, search operations and technology support and a call centre, with over 2,000 employees.

Though the Virginia-based global firm has committed to expand its operations in India and invest hugely in future, the company has declined to give investment figures and the projected revenue from its web advertising services.
Source: IANS
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