AOL´s ICQ instant messaging community just launched what may be the future of AOL in their new social networking super community; ICQ Universe.
ICQ Universe (http://universe.icq.com) is a social networking service that enables Internet users worldwide to link-up with friends, family and colleagues, create a personal profile and access a dynamic view of the relationships between members. The service is available by invitation to Internet users everywhere and enables users to instantly communicate with contacts old and new.
“With ICQ Universe, social networking has arrived. We have integrated ICQ’s unmatched instant messaging tools to make this global phenomenon more valuable and engaging for everyone,” said Orey Gilliam, General Manager of ICQ. “ICQ Universe helps people to not only connect, but to instantly communicate – making friends, sharing ideas and exchanging information in real-time.”
ICQ Universe is the only social networking service on the Web that is built on an established instant messaging service. It launches with full integration across AOL’s popular ICQ network, which serves more than eight million active daily members and has 175 million registered users worldwide.
How AOL´s ICQ Universe Works
Membership in the ICQ Universe is by-invitation-only. ‘Guest Users’ (those who wish to join the ICQ Universe) can register to join in the service’s unique virtual ‘lobby’ at http://universe.icq.com. There, they can browse member profiles and quickly submit a request to join the ICQ Universe. While in the lobby, guest users can also chat with other guest users as well as established universe members, and find volunteer ‘recruiters’ to invite them to join the ICQ universe.
Once invited to join ICQ Universe, new members can create their own part of the universe, invite additional members to join and recruit new friends as they like. Members can also interact with other members through the service’s unique user interface, which reveals the relationships among ICQ Universe members.
Future of ICQ Universe and AOL?
AOL purchased ICQ about a decade ago for their instant messaging capability. The super busy instant messaging and chat community seems the perfect place to test a social networking prototype before bringing into the AOL Network. Search Engine Journal will continue to cover Social Networking with our eagle eyes. Why? There is a huge inter-relationship between search engines, search advertising, contextual advertising and social networking. Once all of these networks tighten up, it´s sure to change the interactive search and internet landscape.