AOL has integrated Facebook Connect with its Instant Messenger to allow users to chat with their Facebook friends directly from AIM.
AOL said in a blog post it is adding its Lifestream application to AIM allowing users to receive updates from social networking sites including Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.
AOL is betting its latest move will considerably expand its AIM user base beyond its current total of 17 million users. The move by AOL also backs up Gartner’s prediction that email and social networks will continue to become increasingly tightly integrated.
"The rigid distinction between e-mail and social networks will erode. E-mail will take on many social attributes, such as contact brokering while social networks will develop richer e-mail capabilities," said Matt Cain, research vice president at Gartner.
"While e-mail is already almost fully penetrated in the corporate space, we expect to see steep growth rates for sales of premises- and cloud-based social networking services."