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Strong opinions, weakly held

Google Talk

As was widely rumored, Google has released its instant messaging client, Google Talk. The download is small and the installation is quick, and the UI is rather simple as you might expect. I haven’t even used the instant messaging features yet, but I’m pretty enamored with its functionality as an incoming email notifier for Google Mail, which I’m currently using for nearly all of my personal email. Feel free to ping me if you like — my ID is rafeco.

Update: I’ve been IMing with a couple of people via Google Talk. It is as you would expect — small, clean, simple. I like it better than most other IM clients (even Trillian, which I use for AIM and Yahoo). Right now it doesn’t turn your smileys into graphics, it just turns them blue. I wonder if that’s just a stopgap measure or if Google is philosophically opposed to smiley-munging. Time will tell.

Another update: this Search Engine Watch article provides a good roundup of what Google Talk offers, including a useful chart that compares Google Talk’s features with those of other leading IM clients. They rightly point out that unlike Gmail, which revolutionized web mail, or Google Maps, which was a quantum leap ahead of other online mapping sites, Google Talk does not blow you away right out of the gate.

I think the killer feature from a user standpoint is Google’s decision to use XMPP as their IM protocol and thus open their service to any XMPP (Jabber) client. They have also thrown down the gauntlet before the leaders in the IM space to interoperate via XMPP. Hopefully they’ll respond by doing so, the lack of interoperability in the IM world has irritated me for a long time.

6 Comments

  1. without having used it, i think the voice integration is going to be the main improvement over the competition. i’m ready to go pick up a headset so i can try it out.

  2. Well, you say the interoperability is the main point. However, according to this post [http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/63152] on the Heise Newsticker which is, unfortunately, in German Google does not allow server-to-server Jabber connections. I do not know the Jabber protocol very well but as I understand the post this pretty much disables interoperability. Actually, what they say is that it means only people using Google’s own server will be able to communicate via Google Talk.

  3. What the heck!? Am I missing something or are you really not allowing <a&gt tags in your comments? That would be supremely annoying. 🙁

  4. The permissions for the comments need work.

    Oh, and from what I’ve heard Google is going to allow interoperability with other XMPP servers, they just haven’t done it yet.

  5. I’m very excited about Google Talk. Clean, simple, no ads, no overload, and the promise of interoperability. I think that last is the real kicker.

    But I’m sure Google will find ways to blow us away with version 2, once they have some feedback and some real-world testing. I think that’s what happened with Google Desktop. The first version was pretty weak, in my opinion, but Desktop 2 is as close to perfect as I could expect from any software.

  6. I’m sure Google has some ideas in mind to improve the next version. I can’t wait to see what they come up with. I’m glad they didn’t put in all the flashy stuff that’s in AIM and Yahoo! Messenger.

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