New AOL Browser Included in AIM Beta

New AOL Beta (5.9.3782) now includes a web browser (built on top of IE6) called AOL Explorer. Here’s a screenshot:

Click me to view a larger version.

Seems pretty cool so far. Has tabbed browsing, a popup blocker, integrates with AOL Desktop Search (which must be installed seperately), and appears to have spyware tools built-in.

I thought this was a pretty interesting development for AOL. This feature is tucked away, and I wouldn’t have known it was included had the AIM Today window not popped up when I first loaded the new beta.

Apparently even more changes are in store for the newest AIM releases which, to my knowledge, are not available online yet. CNet reports the new client will have tabbed chats (text, video, voice), a feature called QuickNote that will let you access data re: your buddies, and more…

I’m most intrigued about the inclusion of this new browser though… might this be considered further competition for Firefox and IE(sorta)? Time will tell…

Addendum: AOL Explorer also includes an RSS FeedReader…!!!!