The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Google Talk #1

Google Talk

Google Talk is out in the wild and in usual Google fashion it is quick and simple.

Sign-up is through your GMail account (I heard rumours that GMail was opening up but right now you still need to be invited) which is good and bad. Good because it integrates with your GMail account preloading your contacts and showing GMail email notifications. Bad because it is one more sign-in to keep track of and I would rather be able to use my Google Account which is attached to my domain name.

GTalk runs off a Google hosted Jabber server which means at this point no integration with the MSN Messenger, AIM, Yahoo etc. IM networks. iChat users on Mac though should be happy as they should have an influx of available contacts now. Even though it does not connect to my main IM network, MSN, I do like that it uses Jabber. It bodes well for the future as it may be an incentive for the big players to cooperate. Also if your IM client is Jabber capable then you can easily talk to GTalk users.

GTalk comes with VOIP but I have yet to test it. No connection to non-IP phones yet though as Skype does with Skype Out.

The best thing about GTalk is its speed. It is a very lightweight app, loading in an instant and responding very quickly. No sluggish MSN Messenger here. Chatting with friends is also quick.

Part of that speed though comes from a lack of features. MSN Messenger is loaded with rubbish but it does have a few features GTalk could do with and probably will get in the future. There is no file transfer in GTalk. It records your recent chat history (displaying it in the chat windows) but does not store permanent logs. There is no grouping or sorting of contacts e.g. Business, Friends, Family. There is no group chat which is useful for business contacts. Emoticons are also limited; ;), :-D, :) etc. are simply highlighted in blue. That is not a major problem though. No MSN Winks, thank god.

The contact grouping issue is in part negated by a search box. Yes, Google put a contacts search in. This filters your contacts list down to what you searched on. This is nice but not great for doing a quick scan of which business, friend or family contacts are online/offline.

Good features are: You can rename your contacts. You can set a custom status which is saved in a list for quick selection. Conversations windows are stacked smartly and can be dragged around together. No adverts, alert tabs or useless features (winks, nudges, backgrounds etc.) The interface is nice and clean, colours are bright and easy to read for online/offline. I do wish the Google Talk app logo though was not so large.

And I have to say it again; It is so damned fast. I have become used to the lethargy that is our bloated friend MSN Messenger.

I look forward to Google adding in those key missing features and hopefully for more interoperability between Jabber and the major IM networks.


Anonymous David Stone said...

Sounds like Trillian...with less features. You should give it a try, Paul

5:25 PM

Anonymous David Stone said...

And by "it", I mean Trillian. It'll let you connect to your MSN list, and if you want to shill out the $25 for the Pro version, you can connect to any Jabber network...

5:26 PM

Blogger Angelo Embuldeniya (Strav) said...

Hi Paul,

gmail accounts are open to the public in the US only, no need for invites, cos the process they use is you go over to a gmail sign up page, key in your cell phone number, key in the word verification bit, then an sms message is sent for the activation of your account and voila you can start using gmail.

Link to the gmail sign up page for those in the US is here.

Hope that helps!

Angelo Embuldeniya (Strav) over at

9:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:39 AM

Blogger Allolex said...

Nice review-let, Paul. (Damn those comment spammers, though!)

7:55 AM


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