While you can only access the People Connection chat rooms through AOL Desktop for Windows, you can create and participate in AIM buddy chats with both AOL Desktop for Windows or Mac OS X and the standalone AOL IM software.
Since both buddy chats and People Connection chats use a special protocol within AIM or AOL Desktop, there's no specific web address you can use to visit the rooms outside the programs.
AOL's registration page lets you choose a screenname, fill out your personal information, and set up a password.
After the brief signup process, you'll see a confirmation that your screenname is ready to use.
Chats in both groups focus on a specific topic, such as health, hobbies, arts and entertainment, games, food, celebrities, geographical location, pets, politics, friendship, travel, and sports.
Both the software and account is free, and you won't need to subscribe to AOL's dial-up or broadband Internet service to access the chat rooms either.
The software you'll need to download depends on the types of chat rooms you want to join.
The only things you'll need are a free screenname and the appropriate software for the type of chat room you want to join.
You can then type your screenname and password on the sign-in screen on AOL Desktop or AIM to get ready to chat.
AOL People Connection, available only in AOL Desktop for Windows, is the main home to dozens of chat rooms grouped into two categories: chat rooms created by AOL and chat rooms created by members.
AOL offers a variety of chat rooms for members who use its desktop web browsing software, have the standalone instant messaging application AIM, or play games on the AOL Games website.
Users can join public chat rooms focused on their interests or start private chats with members they invite.
Chat rooms on the AOL Games website, on the other hand, are accessible through any web browser.