AOL has updated its webmail application to include a set of plugins that allow users to quickly access current news topics as well as third party services, most notably Yahoo Mail. Historically portals have been reluctant to give users access to their messages on other services, but they have been recently been opening up (which makes sense, given that they want to be a one-stop hub for all of your internet needs). Last month AOL gave users access to both their Yahoo and Gmail accounts from its homepage, and is now integrating the features into its main webmail client (Gmail hasn’t been integrated there yet, but it’s on the way).
The move is another step in AOL’s attempt to prove that it is no longer a walled garden. Unfortunately Yahoo’s API handicaps how useful the feature is, as its integration is pretty clunky – instead of pulling in your messages and displaying them in AOL’s webmail interface, each message is actually a link to the Yahoo webmail client that opens in a new browser window.