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  • Report:  #342

Complaint Review: America Online - Nationwide

Reported By:
-
Submitted:
Wed, February 24, 1999
Updated:
Thu, June 13, 2002

America Online
AOL browser is trouble-prone and unreliable. Nationwide, U.S.A.
Web:
N/A
Categories:
Internet Services

The web browser built into America Online's software is proprietary

and ancient. Both the Macintosh and PC versions of the AOL web

browser were purchased from outside companies, and both are barely

usable. In addition, due to the structure of the AOL network,

transfers are always extremely slow, and graphics are often

corrupted.

For the PC version, AOL bought a browser from BookLink that was

arguably as good as Netscape 1.0, which was the standard at the

time. However, AOL developed it only as necessary while Netscape

continually enhanced its Navigator product. These advances in the

HTML standard left AOL in the dust.

In America Online 3.0, AOL finally supports HTML 3.2, including such

features as tables and frames. However, AOL's browser still omits

many commonly used tags, and does not support animated images --

tremendously diminishing the Web experience.

AOL, when developing its Web software, decided that it made more

sense to keep copies of all web pages that AOL members received on

its own computers.That way, instead of letting each member get a

fresh copy from the sending site every time it was viewed, it could

simply be sent from the "proxy" machine. This helped keep AOL's

already-sluggish Internet connection fromgrinding to a halt.

However, the fact remains that there aren't enough proxy machines to

go around, forcing users to wait interminably while the proxy

machine gets around to helping them. Also, these machines are

frequently out of service, resulting in a lot of difficulty in

connecting to Web sites. It is nearly impossible to load a

graphics-heavy Web page without some of the images being replaced

with error icons.

In addition, the AOL proxy machines convert Internet-standard GIF

and JPEG graphics into AOL's Johnson-Grace compressed image format.

AOL calls this "TurboWeb" and claims that it makes AOL web

connections 3 times as fast as those from an ISP. This is an

outright lie; instead of speeding the process up, the compression

slows down the proxy machines yet more, making the whole

process incredibly slow. Also, the image technology doesn't work

well, often corrupting images by introducing bizarre color shifts or

bands.

The AOL Web browser is simply not an adequate offering, especially

when most members use AOL to access the Internet. With an ISP, users

can choose the software they prefer quickly and easily, while on AOL

using anything but the built-in browser is trouble-prone and

unreliable.



4 Updates & Rebuttals

Jim

Mesa,
Arizona,
Nice explanation, but..

#2Consumer Comment

Wed, June 12, 2002

Nice explanation, but: Forgive me, but anyone using AOL, by nature, has not the technical expertise to give as much detail as you have tried to do. I'm a web developer, so listen hard: GIF's and JPG's do NOT CHANGE FORMATS in mid-transfer, or via proxy storage. Do you know how much time working I could save if picture content could be automatically altered to fit a particular browser? Don't be an idiot and try to lecture people about a topic you have no idea about. If you don't like the service, then LEAVE. That's your right as a consumer. AOL does have its place, for many individuals who do want an assisted, easy web experience. You show your ignorance in this forum by trying to be technical, and by admitting you use the service.


Jim

Mesa,
Arizona,
Nice explanation, but..

#3Consumer Comment

Wed, June 12, 2002

Nice explanation, but: Forgive me, but anyone using AOL, by nature, has not the technical expertise to give as much detail as you have tried to do. I'm a web developer, so listen hard: GIF's and JPG's do NOT CHANGE FORMATS in mid-transfer, or via proxy storage. Do you know how much time working I could save if picture content could be automatically altered to fit a particular browser? Don't be an idiot and try to lecture people about a topic you have no idea about. If you don't like the service, then LEAVE. That's your right as a consumer. AOL does have its place, for many individuals who do want an assisted, easy web experience. You show your ignorance in this forum by trying to be technical, and by admitting you use the service.


Jim

Mesa,
Arizona,
Nice explanation, but..

#4Consumer Comment

Wed, June 12, 2002

Nice explanation, but: Forgive me, but anyone using AOL, by nature, has not the technical expertise to give as much detail as you have tried to do. I'm a web developer, so listen hard: GIF's and JPG's do NOT CHANGE FORMATS in mid-transfer, or via proxy storage. Do you know how much time working I could save if picture content could be automatically altered to fit a particular browser? Don't be an idiot and try to lecture people about a topic you have no idea about. If you don't like the service, then LEAVE. That's your right as a consumer. AOL does have its place, for many individuals who do want an assisted, easy web experience. You show your ignorance in this forum by trying to be technical, and by admitting you use the service.


Jim

Mesa,
Arizona,
Nice explanation, but..

#5Consumer Comment

Wed, June 12, 2002

Nice explanation, but: Forgive me, but anyone using AOL, by nature, has not the technical expertise to give as much detail as you have tried to do. I'm a web developer, so listen hard: GIF's and JPG's do NOT CHANGE FORMATS in mid-transfer, or via proxy storage. Do you know how much time working I could save if picture content could be automatically altered to fit a particular browser? Don't be an idiot and try to lecture people about a topic you have no idea about. If you don't like the service, then LEAVE. That's your right as a consumer. AOL does have its place, for many individuals who do want an assisted, easy web experience. You show your ignorance in this forum by trying to be technical, and by admitting you use the service.

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