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August 24th, 2005

Google Talk

After hours of speculation, Google released Google Talk – an instant messenger client.

My impression based solely on screenshots and available information (since there’s no OS X client) is that it’s lackluster. Integrated with Gmail? Great. Free audio chat with any of my friends? Eh, okay, nice. But there’s nothing terribly new or innovative here other than the fact that it’s coming from Google, and Google is obviously starting to morph into a Windows software company (too).

One thing this reminds me of, though, is that many people do use an instant messenger from AOL, MSN, or Yahoo! – but not a multi-protocol client like Trillian (Windows) or Adium (Mac). And I can’t imagine having multiple programs for chat. And Google’s own comparison chart makes Google Talk look somewhat lame.

I guess the only saving grace of Google Talk will be to wonder where this is sending Google and how it’ll be tied into everything else. Maybe in five years, Google Talk will be the dominant standard for instant messaging. Or maybe we’ll all be talking directly to robots.

Posted in Technology

FROM: COD [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday August 24, 2005 -- 8:59:02 am
I can't see any reason to download it. I use GAIM on Linux, connects to AIM/Yahoo/MSN/and now Google too.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday August 24, 2005 -- 9:42:17 am
Definitely underwhelming on the surface, though I suspect this is just the surface of some bigger initiative.

FROM: Marcus Mackey
DATE: Friday September 9, 2005 -- 10:54:02 pm
Definitely underwhelming on the surface, though I suspect this is just the surface of some bigger initiative.

I think the one that baffles me is the talk of eBay wanting to buy Skype. I can definitely see an agenda brewing there too though. Imagine a chat service combined with a auction tracker, online store surveyor (for non-auction items), with the ability to use voice connections over Skype for online "cheap" Customer service over the same medium that most people use to buy the product to start with.

The problem here is... the more "Swiss Army" you get with a product, the less intuitive it can become and the further it can stray from the core of what made the product great to begin with. A product that is a "Jack of all trades, master of none." is seldom that useful overall compared to a multitude of mini-Apps that suit their purposes par excellence. If I was an avid Skype user... I might be leary of this talk.

In as far as Google's Google Talk... I can't even begin to fathom what the next step might be. Then again, when Google usually lays a product on you... it changes your entire perspective on the genre in some remarkable way. So far... I'm not sure GMail nor Google Talk have hit that same stride. In fact... it's like they're starting to turn into the next Yahoo.

I do tend to prefer GAIM, Miranda, and Adium (based on GAIM) thus far of what I've used. There's another one for Mac called Proteus I believe that I've heard is nicer than Adium, but I don't feel like paying for a multi chat messenger when the original messengers are free, and so are quite a few of the multi-chat clients as well.

In as far as Trillian... I can understand why few use it. It's the most unintuitive of the lot, and it's containers mentality was enough to drive me nuts the few times I ran it. I'd rather use GAIM for Windows, or Miranda than suffer it again.

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