Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

AOL Socializes Even More With New Lifestream


As part of its ongoing rejiggering of its social-networking offerings, AOL is formally rolling out its expected Lifestream platform today, with a new “timeline” depicting a user’s online life in a streaming horizontal calendar called a Lifestory.

(See image above; click on it to make it larger.)

The moves are the latest made by AOL’s People Networks related to its Bebo social site, which this column previously reported about in December.

AOL is hoping its efforts will focus users more on Bebo, which it bought for $850 million in March, a high price that has been controversial both inside and outside Time Warner (TWX), which owns AOL.

While Bebo is one of the larger social networks, it is still not popular in the U.S. and lags well behind leaders like Facebook.

Lifestream will first be available on AOL’s Bebo and include updates from friends on Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Del.icio.us. Lifestream can also be used by brands, celebrities, bands and companies.

Lifestory uses a zooming technology to look at various times, using text, music, videos and photos, and can be done with many contributors. It also includes a feature called Social Slider that allows a user to have more granular filtering control over who sees what in Lifestory.

AOL had previously launched other social-networking features, such as Social Inbox, a one-stop destination with aggregated social feeds from across the Web, multiple email accounts and media recommendations.

AOL also has an upcoming service called Site Social, with plans to use its advertising platform to help monetize the offering.

Many large Web portals like AOL have recently rolled out by large Web players like Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO). All are attempts to offer a competing product to the most popular social-networking sites, Facebook and the News Corp. (NWS) unit, MySpace, where users have flocked. (News Corp. is the owner of this Web site.)

Those two companies have also been making moves of late to allow consumers to aggregate their disparate piles of online information through connective offerings that allow them to pool all kinds of Web content and communications in one place.

AOL’s People Networks unit, which includes Bebo, AIM and ICQ, has an overall audience of 92 million, according to a recent comScore (SCOR) survey.

Here are some screenshots of the AOL pages with the new features:

Moviefone Lifestory


VH1 Lifestory


Social Inbox


User Profile


User Profile 2


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik