I just did a bit of experimenting with AOL IM’s new beta version, “Triton”.
How is it? Let’s just say its already off my computer.
I’ll keep in mind that this software is still an early beta, but a number of fundamental design elements just really bug me.
First of all, the banner ads. Using deadAIM and now Gaim has made a lack of ads in IM seem normal – there’s no way I’d go back. The ones that play audio are particularly bad.
Second, I got a popup ad from Triton. I haven’t seen a popup ad in who knows how long thanks to Firefox and previously the Google Toolbar. But 3 minutes after logging in, there one was.
Third, it installed other software along with Triton. I have no idea what it did. There was an AOL icon in my taskbar, which gave me the option to ‘Sign in to the AOL network’. This functionality seems to be completely unrelated to using Triton. I could be signed into one of the two and not the other. Very confusing.
Fourth, the interface seems to have been rearranged with no logic whatsoever. It took me close to a minute of poking around to figure out how to set an away message.
In summary, I’m not impressed. While gaim admittedly still has a few bugs (my buddy list tends to disappear into the system tray at random), it remains a superior product to Triton. AOL has some serious work to do in bringing Triton out of beta, if they want to recapture their own network’s power user software market.