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Google Talk


August 23, 2005 10:31 PM PST

Google's answer to Skype.Google Talk. I'm using it now; initial review:

So currently, Skype has more features, but more frustrations. I would imagine Google will catch up. This actually leaves Skype as a good acquisition target from Yahoo or Microsoft. Or InfoSpace, the 0.5% search leader. :-)

Comments (16)

John, August 23, 2005 11:19 PM:

I guess the real proof in the voice chat space is being able to traverse nats and firewalls. MSN messenger has had voice chat for ever, but it is problematic to get it to connect sometimes. Especially between different versions of Windows etc. Skype is better, and has a pocketPC client, but it is not smart enough to get through my work firewall. We'll see how smart Google Talk is.

As for IM, I hope they get the 'party' chat working soon. So far the feature set is pretty sparse.

Paul, August 24, 2005 12:02 AM:

Check out the Google Talk easter egg.

J, August 24, 2005 12:18 AM:

Seriously... out for a few hours and already in Wikipedia? Wikipedia is amazing.

J, August 24, 2005 12:27 AM:

"Google Talk currently does not encrypt chats or calls. But we are working hard to make many improvements to Google Talk while it is in beta, and we plan to fully support encryption of chats and calls before our official release." -

John, August 24, 2005 10:30 AM:

It seems Skype is trying to respond. Here is a quote "We want Skype to be the worlds largest open IM system on the planet!"

J, August 24, 2005 10:54 AM:

I was also reminded that Skype has SkypeOut, and SkypeIn, which let you interact with the standard phone network at very low rates. So I won't be giving up Skype quite yet (but will use GTalk as well).

Wheelson, August 24, 2005 02:26 PM:

So far, the CR inserted if the other person hasn't replied yet is cool. The way the notification popups stack up when the conversation window is not active is cool but I'd like the option to tweak that notification. Tweaking it on a contact or contact group basis would be even better.

John, August 26, 2005 10:30 AM:

Well I must say I was pretty impressed with the VOIP quality. I chatted with Paul the other night for a bit. There was no noticable lag. Just for kicks we tried to switch over to MSN an messenger voice call to compare but it wouldn't connect. It just kept saying the voice call has ended. Ouch. This is a common problem they have trying to traverse Nats and firewalls etc. I hope someone in the MSN Messenger is paying attention.

J, August 26, 2005 04:51 PM:

It's ludicrous that MSN has had voicechat for years, but since it didn't work through NAT, companies like Skype and Google get all the love. MS has all sorts of crazy P2P technology and libraries built into XP. Why aren't they using any of that to solve the NAT problem?

J, September 14, 2005 05:01 PM:

Google Talk keeps popping out of my sidebar. Lucky it's a Beta! LOL.

Funny comments about GTalk from Gates. Can't say I really disagree with him.

Paul, September 14, 2005 06:15 PM:

It's pretty rich for the MS chief to talk about "me too" services. MSN Search, anyone? Plus, Google Talk has been out for exactly 3 weeks now with MSN Messenger having like, a 7 year head start on features... I guess it took a long time to optimize the annoyingness of the cartoon features and tabs, since that is more important than getting voice or file transfer to work through NAT.

Anyways, I haven't noticed Google Talk popping out of the sidebar. It starts independently of the sidebar, but seems to auto-dock itself when the sidebar is fully running.

J, September 14, 2005 09:02 PM:

Well, right, MS has been lazy. And in fairness - just announced a sidebar for Whidbey that looks surprisingly similar to OS X and Google Sidebar. But make no mistake that Google is still in the honeymoon period and this will end the more rapidly they grow.

Yeah, it happened at work and home, the normally docked gtalk "friends" window was sitting there on my desktop.

John, September 15, 2005 01:25 AM:

Paul, he he "me too". Gmail anyone?

Sorry J I'm not going to take the bait on the Sidebar thingy.

I also have had the gtalk pop out of the sidebar a few times. I haven't used it enough to get a feel for why it happens. On the topic of Google talk; excluding the cool VOIP for a moment, I'd have to say that I'm just not compelled to use it for day to day IM. I don’t really need another IM client to try and convince all my friends and family to switch too. I’ve read a lot of comments by pro-jabber guys complaining about Google’s (current) lack of interop with standard Jabber servers. I guess I agree with them. There is no way for Google to realize their vision of making IM as open and interoperable as email by just creating a federation of a few top players and excluding all the rest. Email certainly doesn’t work like that. That being said, if they do eventually open it up with full Jabber server support then I’ll have to re-consider my stance on this.

Paul, September 15, 2005 11:50 AM:

Of course, just after I say that it hasn't popped out of the sidebar on me, it happens. I'll file a bug.

I'm going to ignore any comments from jabber people complaining that a 3 week old service doesn't do everything in the universe. "It doesn't wash my dishes! It doesn't feed my cat! It doesn't federate with my jabber servers! Google must be evil!". The only thing I can say is get some f*cking perspective, people! Of course we'll federate: see this FAQ, but not before there's been significant real world testing of the system, and not until we can prevent IM spam (which would be several orders of magnitude more annoying than email spam, as you can imagine). You just can't do everything on day one. You might remember the GoAhead model of building every bloody feature under the sun and not shipping anything for a couple of years, only to find that you have 1 customer that barely uses any of those features.

As for Gmail being "me too", well it's pretty obvious what innovations that brought in terms of web applications, storage, UI, search. Even Google web search was like the 7 web search engine or something. "Me too" means doing something without bringing anything new.

J, September 15, 2005 02:59 PM:

The thing about Google I find interesting is that they're just picking things off one by one, simply by doing them better. There's no reason established players couldn't do this themselves, but maybe this will push them to innovate a bit more. There were numerous better interfaces for Webmail out there (Oddpost, for one), and it's not like anyone using Hotmail didn't have several easy suggestions for improvement.

I think what happened is that companies went from being engineering and innovation driven to being totally marketing and sales driven during the bubble cycle. Now engineering driven companies like Google and Apple are back pushing innovation and the established companies haven't had time to restructure for the new game.

John, September 15, 2005 09:21 PM:

I don't disagree with anything you guys are saying. I think that the main driver (or rather the lack there of) is motivation. Most of the big players rounded out their offerings long ago (yes by playing ‘me too’) and then sat on them because they really don't bring in any money. They needed these things like search, web based email and IM because the other guy had them. The main struggle has been that they don't really bring in any money by themselves. (No one thought search could make any money before Google came along). So accordingly the dev resources spigot was turned way down. In this mode the big guys are forced to be reactionary. Innovation for innovation’s sake doesn’t really happen that much (at least not anymore). I think when looking for motivation (profit, market share, weakening your competition etc) the killer is being too myopic. Sometimes you need to step back from the profitability of a given product or business unit and look at the bigger picture. Fail to do that and pay the price.

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