America Online Inc.
has released a new version of its Internet connectivity software for Windows, AOL 9.0. For the first time, AOL includes with it a QuickTime installer, and QuickTime is integrated tightly into the software, according to Apple. To find out more, MacCentral spoke with Apple director of QuickTime product marketing Frank Casanova.
The new AOL client software for Windows features AOL Media Player. With integrated QuickTime support, AOL Media Player can now playback all of the content that exists in QuickTime format — something that AOL users had to go through several steps to do before now, according to Casanova.
“It’s about integration,” Casanova explained. “If you were using AOL’s Media Player before now and if you stepped on some QuickTime content, the QuickTime content would play in a separate window, but it wouldn’t be part of the integrated experience that AOL wants for its customers.”
It also required AOL users to go to the Apple Web site, download the QuickTime software and install it — a daunting task for novice Internet users, noted Casanova. “Now that QuickTime is installed and can be accessed directly, it offers AOL users a more integrated experience,” he added.
QuickTime is also being used exclusively in a new AOL 9.0 feature called Video Messenger. Part of the new AOL software’s Instant Messenger architecture, Video Messenger enables users with video cameras to second 20 second clips to one another using QuickTime. Users without video cameras will also be able to use the feature, thanks to a stockpile of dozens of pre-recorded video clips.
All of the imagery is transmitted and played back through Video Messenger is handled through QuickTime, Casanova said. Casanova also indicated that this technology is entirely separate of iChat AV, Apple’s own instant messaging-based video conferencing architecture, currently available as a public beta test.
Ninety-five percent of the users downloading QuickTime installation software from Apple’s Web site are PC users, said Casanova, so the company’s media architecture is already very well represented on the Windows platform. Casanova told MacCentral that he expects that this move will help more novice users gain a familiarity and comfort with QuickTime, however.
“We’re really excited that America Online has included QuickTime,” said Casanova. “We think it’s the beginning of a really cool relationship with AOL, and we hope that continues in the future.”