Web giant launches new email product (no, not Facebook!)

Facebook may be trying to make email redundant - by giving everyone a Facebook email address (no, we don't get it either) - but another company is actually trying to revive their email product this week too.

The very first commercial email provider, AOL, has lost much of its sheen as a provider of online services since its 1990s heyday. But millions of people still have AOL.com email accounts, and apparently a whopping 45% of its traffic comes from people using email.

So it's no surprise they're tarting it up a bit. The excitingly-named 'Project Phoenix,' a new webmail client, has just launched in private beta. According to CNET, it offers some nifty new features:

'It looks a lot like Gmail's interface, with a few extra bells and whistles. There's a 'quick bar' at the top for sending short e-mails, instant messages (which pop up in very Google Chat-like windows), and text messages. A side bar of 'smart view' content previews attached files and maps of locations detailed in the message (AOL representatives assured that these previews only show up from confirmed contacts, so there's no chance of porn spam making mischief here). Messages open in a tabbed interface for easy flipping between messages and the main in-box.'

What do you think, AOL users? Has this Phoenix got you, er, aflame with excitement?

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