Do you remember America Online (AOL)? If you were on the Internet in those early days, it is likely that you had an AOL account, Instant Messenger and email @aol.com. Even if you didn’t have an account, you probably heard that modem sound and the “You’ve got mail” message somewhere announcing that there was new mail in your Inbox.
In lives on in You’ve Got Mail, a 1998 romantic comedy directed by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It is about two people in an online romance who are unaware that they are real life business rivals.
Some people still have @aol.com email accounts, but I’ve heard that if you ever list that on a résumé, you just lost a job.
I definitely don’t miss modems and dial-up access to the Internet, but I feel a bit of nostalgia when I hear that AOL connection sound and the message. We had an AOL account in the late 1980s via AppleLink on my Apple IIe computer that had a 1250 baud modem as its connection to the Internet. Images used to appear line by line as they were downloaded. It was painful. And we were thrilled about being online.
AOL started as a company before email and chat in the 1980s under the name Control Video Corp. that sold a game downloading service for the Atari video game console. By 1985, they had reorganized as Quantum Computer Services and offered an online service named Q-Link. In 1989, they launched an instant messenger program with the “You’ve got mail” message under the America Online name.
In 2015, AOL (as they are now known) was acquired by Verizon Communications for $4.4 billion. The company owns and operates websites such as The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget, and also offers digital distribution of content, products, and services, to consumers, publishers, and advertisers.
Listen to the AOL logon sound and message.