Google Talk: My Take

What’s my take on Google Talk?

I downloaded it on the first day itself, installed it, clicked around, had a conversation or two, closed it, and haven’t started it again.

The tool I use for IM is Gaim for all the four majors (The 4): YIM, MSN, ICQ, and AIM. Combined I have 300 contacts (I checked twice when I reached a round figure) out of which I guess half are inactive and need pruning. But that still leaves 150 active contacts.

Compare that to Google Talk’s total: 3.

Google Talk has nothing to offer me that I already don’t have through one of The 4. I don’t need it. If one of my clients comes along and wants me to use Google Talk just to talk, I will politely request them to use YIM (my favourite of The 4). It’s happened before with Skype. Sooner or later it will happen with Google Talk. People understand that nobody wants a fifth IM application open just for them. They already have an identity with one of The 4 anyway. So they oblige.

It’s funny watching people falling over themselves over using Google Talk. Crowd psychology: mostly devoid of sanity. What is there to be so excited about? What’s new? What’s special? What is this new IM application giving anybody that isn’t already there? And it’s limited to Windows only to boot! Just because it’s been released by Google?

But it’s Google! They change everything they touch. Wait for the next version! It will really be something you know!

That’s one of my acquaintances. I refuse to recognise him as my friend till he regains some sense. But that seems to be the sentiment of many people I’ve talked to. However, it’s not as if Google hasn’t gone wrong before (Web Accelerator).

So yes, I guess we’ll see as time goes. They have the resources. They have the desire and drive. And they think. Next few months should be interesting for the IM world.

3 Responses to “Google Talk: My Take”

  1. Colin Says:

    The most important thing about Google Talk, compared to the “Four majors”, is the underlying Jabber protocol. If people could fly away from MSN, AIM, Y! and so on, and most of the earth chatted via Jabber, that would be another great victory for open standards and free software!

  2. Colin Says:

    (And that’ll avoid lots of headaches to free-software IM developers. Updating the MSN protocol after they released a “mandatory upgrade” to their official client is no fun, I tell you…

  3. Woody Says:

    I absolutely agree with you on that.

    At the same time, I don’t think it would be wise to think of this as a fight between open standards/free software and proprietary technology though many would advocate that it be taken as such. Google is not doing this for a common good. They’re a commercial entity and they have opted for jabber protocol only because it allows them the fastest entry into this neglected-by-them segment that is growing stronger by the moment. They needed a foothold, fast, and this is what they’ve tried to achieve. And like many have questioned in their individual discussions, how will people feel when Google starts parsing their chats to present context-sensitive text ads in the middle of the conversations?

    My main case, however, was for the business user. Many of my contacts that I interact with over the Internet started using Skype to hold voice conversations. Yet, despite it having a capable IM client of its own, we inadvertently end up holding text-discussions in one of The 4.

    Skype became popular because it is free. And it provided better quality of voice communication than anything that existed at that point in time.

    Google is coming to a saturated market wearing underwear. As of now, the name will feature only in the ‘also-ran’ list. But like my friend so optimistically put it: “I bet they have a cool game plan. You just wait and see.”

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