We teased our brother because he still had an AOL account. AOL – the acronym for America Online – was the Internet search engine used by the ancients. Those who are hip, fast-moving and aware use Gmail and thinking about the new Facebook messaging system to come.  But the new word is AOL is about to get hipper. The new AOL is still in the trial phase, code-named “Phoenix.” (You know: the bird that keeps getting reborn in the fire.) To get on the invitation list, go to

The new AOL will have a “quick bar” that lets you send email, instant messages, go to Facebook and send Twitter updates without leaving your inbox. You can bring in mail from other services, such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail. “SmartView” highlights your most important info. Single-click searching lets you search across all your email accounts and folders and keeps refining the search as you go.  You also get unlimited storage. Email attachments can be as big as 25 megabytes. (That’s big.)

You won’t even have to have an AOL address. Your email address can be YourName, followed by, or, among others.

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