It has been rumored for months now, and the rumors turned out to be right: Google just launched an IM (Instant Messaging) client. It’s called Google Talk and you can now download a beta client for Windows 2000/XP.
If you look more closely you’ll see that Google Talk is just a Jabber client. Jabber is an XML-based IM standard, which, for as far as I can see, hasn’t made its big breakthrough yet beyond the geek crowd. Google launching a client like this may very well change that.
On top of what a normal Jabber client offers, Google Talk also offers the opportunity to actually talk to each other (internet telephony). This is a feature that most Jabber clients don’t offer, and I wonder if it’s part of a Jabber standard, I sort-of doubt it actually.
*Update 1:* It appears that iChat also offers this feature and it is possible to do telephony with Google Talk users through iChat on the Mac.
*Update 2:* I just set up Google Talk in my iChat, but it doesn’t seem like I can actually talk to people. I can send messages, but the phone button (to call somebody) just doesn’t appear.
*Update 3:* Indeed, iChat and Google Talk users cannot interact yet, according “to this”:http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2005/08/google_talk_rel.html, it will happen though when they support SIP. “Technical details can be found here”:http://www.google.com/talk/developer.html.
Google Talk looks promising, but doesn’t offer anything new as of yet. Skype, for example, can do the same thing, or MSN, or AIM. But I’m sure Google has some neat feature planned for the future. You can logon to Google Talk using your Gmail account.
If you plan to use it, yet don’t have anybody to talk to, my ID is firstname.lastname@example.org. ;)