Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | AOL still has its place
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AOL still has its place

When I wrote last week about the death of AOL, I may have been premature. Maybe it’s just the start of a new chapter in AOL‘s lifespan.

Take this Washington Post story today, for proof. AOL last week screwed up and released private information about its users and how they use the company’s search engine.

Significantly, the top search term entered by AOL users is “Google.”

This tells me that there is still a need for AOL, or a company like AOL: a company that helps newcomers to the Internet find their way in the bewildering, huge space. A company that offers “the Internet with training wheels.”

Because who else but a newcomer to the ‘Net would use a search engine to find how to get to Google.com? It’s a word that gets tossed around so much they obviously wanted to check out the site.

Yes, that means AOL users are that green. Call ’em tourists wandering around online, or call ’em newbies. Call ’em whatever you want, but the company still serves an important purpose, introducing those who are not technology-enabled to the riches available online.

I’m still convinced that I wouldn’t have been able to work online for the past decade if it weren’t for AOL and its members.