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AOL Mail gets first makeover in five years

AOL has unveiled a revamped version of its mail client, the first major overhaul since 2007.

The new AOL Mail cuts down on the clutter, the company said, and adds app-like access to other services.

The chat window has moved to the lower left corner of the inbox, much like Gmail's GChat window, while ads are now on the right-hand side. Click the tabs above the AIM window for quick access to contacts, events, and to-do lists, which AOL dubbed "mini apps."

Above the inbox, there are also quick links for starting an IM or text message, as well as a refresh button for email.

AOL promised easier-to-read fonts and icons, as well as new options for customisation.

"All of these improvements fall under our broader goal of giving new and loyal AOL Mail users a 'fresh start' with their email," said Joshua Ramirez, senior director of Mail Product Management, in a statement. "Email in general is a cluttered, broken experience, and we're actively fighting against that. We're giving loyal users a new experience and offering potential new users a clean inbox with a great interface and clean slate where they can own the email address they want."

To help you land the email address you want, AOL said it has expanded the availability of AOL screen names so users won't be stuck with an email address that includes a string of random numbers.

"This redesign comes at the end of a multi-year initiative that started with optimising and updating our system 'under the hood'," said David Temkin, senior vice president of mobile and mail at AOL, said in a statement. "User experience is our absolute top priority; we wanted to maintain the reliability of AOL Mail while working to address some of the major concerns that our users have shared with us. The new AOL Mail is a tremendous step in the right direction, and we aren't through yet."

The update is live now at Gmail got a similar redesign late last year.