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Sneak preview of AOL 8.0, UK version

Software is due out early next year, but we give you an idea of what to expect

Following the launch of AOL 8.0 in the US yesterday, AOL UK has announced some details about what users can expect to see over here.

"The software will have many of the same features of 8.0 in the US but it will be distinct, offering features and services that have been tailored locally, specifically designed to meet the needs of the UK audience," according to an AOL UK spokesperson.

Among the new features which are slated to be part of AOL 8.0, both in the US and the UK, are email enhancements that will allow users to separate out incoming messages from friends and colleagues, recognised bulk senders and unknown email addresses. An Email Away message has also been added to the service.

The address book has also been improved, and regular users will be pleased to learn that it will now automatically add the addresses of email recipients, as well as offering enhanced printing for labels and list formats.

Personalisation will also be better supported, as you have more desktop and toolbar themes to choose from and there will be more smileys to add to AIM (AOL Instant Messanger) messages, plus more colourful email options.

The AOL companion is common to both versions too, placing an icon on your desktop that will give you access to news and weather headlines, in a similar fashion to the AIM Ticker, as well as alerting you when you have new email and AIM messages and allowing you to switch screen names more easily.

The company also promises enhanced reliability through a new feature that will automatically reconnect an interrupted session and return users to the areas they were visiting.

While all these features are planned to play a starring role in 8.0, nothing has been finalised yet, and we'll have to wait and see what the ultimate line up will be at launch.

So far there is no firm launch date for AOL 8.0 in the UK, although AOL UK's communications manager, Joss Cole, said it could be several months before we see it. Currently the nearest thing we can get to a date is "early next year".


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