August 23, 2005 8:30 PM PDT

Google unveils instant-messaging entry

Google has launched an instant-messaging program that allows text chat and computer-to-computer voice connections, a move that highlights the search giant's increasing competition with Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online.

Google's Web site late Tuesday provided a link to download Google Talk and stated that the software "enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free-?anytime, anywhere in the world." Google's messaging program is linked to the company's Web-based e-mail program, Gmail, and both are in a beta, or test, phase.

While Google Talk was expected, some industry observers questioned what innovation Google could add to lure loyal users and their millions of buddies away from established instant-messaging applications.

One advantage to Google Talk could be its ability to connect with users of competing services. The service is based on the Jabber open-source standard, which allows consumers to connect with other messaging systems that work with Jabber, such as Apple Computer's iChat, GAIM, Adium, Trillian Pro and Psi.

Google Talk currently works only on Windows, according to Google's Web site. Users need a microphone and a speaker to take advantage of the voice capabilities.

The company's moves are a further sign of its expansive ambitions in the face of growing competition from rivals Yahoo, AOL and MSN. The launch comes one day after Google rolled out a beta version of its free desktop software, Desktop 2, that includes a personalized toolbar dubbed "Sidebar" for accessing e-mail, stock quotes and news, as well as a scratch pad for taking notes and tools for searching the desktop and Microsoft Outlook in-box.

The company, which last week announced plans to raise $4 billion in a secondary stock sale, already offers a wide variety of services beyond Web search, including Gmail, news, alerts, the Froogle shopping search engine, the Blogger service for posting blogs, desktop search, the Picasa photo-sharing software, Google Maps and Google Earth. The company has reportedly been looking into buying up unused fiber optic and radio spectrum, as well as buying wireless companies such as Android.

News.com Poll

What's your take on Google Talk--does the world need another IM service?

Yes. Sign me up now!
Maybe. Let's look at the details.
No. It just adds to the clutter.



View results

It makes sense for Google to come up with additional ways to attract users and keep them on the Google Web site longer, said Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch.

"In the end, I think they have to do it because in reality they are a portal, a big gateway people use to access the Web, and people seem to expect certain things from these gateways and one of them is instant messaging," he said.

But Google faces an uphill battle to win converts from the leaders in instant messaging--AOL's AIM, Yahoo Messenger and Microsoft's MSN Messenger--whose members will no doubt be resistant to switch their buddy lists to a new IM service, Sullivan said.

Google Talk users can't use the program to talk with users of AIM, MSN Messenger or Yahoo Messenger. An IM service is only useful if a user has other people to communicate with.

After playing with Google Talk, Sullivan gave it strong marks for sound quality but said it lacked video chat, which Yahoo offers, and

CONTINUED:
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93 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
I don't get it.
Why launch a new product and make it available only to those with a gmail account? Most people can't even use gmail because it requires an "invitation". It isn't even all that impressive. Other IM clients have offered the same features for years. Does the name "google" make it special?
Posted by Bob_Barker (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If you haven't gotten a gmail invite by now...
You need to find some new friends.
Posted by scsscs22 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Dont need Gmail
I guess you need a Google account and not a Gmail a/c (both are different)
Google a/c is like MS passport for which any email a/c would suffice.
Visit <a class="jive-link-external" href="https://www.google.com/accounts/" target="_newWindow">https://www.google.com/accounts/</a>
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
getting invited
I got 50 invitations just sitting there and I've already sent them to all my friends, so if you want one, let me know and I'll send it to you. That way, you can use gmail and google talk, as well as all the other google services and programs.

Just send me some email at thedreaming@gmail.com
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Link Flag
Don't need IM....
... 'Can you read me now????' mentality, coupled with limited
communications capability, leaves IM as just something to keep the
teeny boppers busy.

You want to tell me something? Call me.........

And if you don't have my phone number, or I don't answer, there's
a message in there somewhere...........
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
I don't get it.
Why launch a new product and make it available only to those with a gmail account? Most people can't even use gmail because it requires an "invitation". It isn't even all that impressive. Other IM clients have offered the same features for years. Does the name "google" make it special?
Posted by Bob_Barker (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If you haven't gotten a gmail invite by now...
You need to find some new friends.
Posted by scsscs22 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Dont need Gmail
I guess you need a Google account and not a Gmail a/c (both are different)
Google a/c is like MS passport for which any email a/c would suffice.
Visit <a class="jive-link-external" href="https://www.google.com/accounts/" target="_newWindow">https://www.google.com/accounts/</a>
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
getting invited
I got 50 invitations just sitting there and I've already sent them to all my friends, so if you want one, let me know and I'll send it to you. That way, you can use gmail and google talk, as well as all the other google services and programs.

Just send me some email at thedreaming@gmail.com
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Link Flag
Don't need IM....
... 'Can you read me now????' mentality, coupled with limited
communications capability, leaves IM as just something to keep the
teeny boppers busy.

You want to tell me something? Call me.........

And if you don't have my phone number, or I don't answer, there's
a message in there somewhere...........
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
I don't get it.
Why launch a new product and make it available only to those with a gmail account? Most people can't even use gmail because it requires an "invitation". It isn't even all that impressive. Other IM clients have offered the same features for years. Does the name "google" make it special?
Posted by Bob_Barker (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If you haven't gotten a gmail invite by now...
You need to find some new friends.
Posted by scsscs22 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Dont need Gmail
I guess you need a Google account and not a Gmail a/c (both are different)
Google a/c is like MS passport for which any email a/c would suffice.
Visit <a class="jive-link-external" href="https://www.google.com/accounts/" target="_newWindow">https://www.google.com/accounts/</a>
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
getting invited
I got 50 invitations just sitting there and I've already sent them to all my friends, so if you want one, let me know and I'll send it to you. That way, you can use gmail and google talk, as well as all the other google services and programs.

Just send me some email at thedreaming@gmail.com
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Link Flag
Don't need IM....
... 'Can you read me now????' mentality, coupled with limited
communications capability, leaves IM as just something to keep the
teeny boppers busy.

You want to tell me something? Call me.........

And if you don't have my phone number, or I don't answer, there's
a message in there somewhere...........
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Google under pressure?
I think it's Google under pressure to add more value to itself now that they're public. Which I think is ok. Google is already a brand by itself. There are people who use Google products simply because they're from Google. Google keep this up and next we'll find PCs, laptops and devices with "Google Inside" stickers. :-D
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Everyone is a Google fanboy
I disagree.

Most average Internet users don't care much about the Google brand. They don't see Google as the almighty-innovative-and-cool web company that geeks like to love religiously.

Case in point, I have sent GMail invitations to members of my family (average net users). They bothered to register and create an account but did NOT care enough to actually use that GMail account regularly, as their primary email account. I have lots of friends who do not use GMail. Those that do are "experienced" web users and they work in the computer/software-related field.

I predict the same thing will happen to this goodle IM thing. Most people will keep using their cute MSN Messenger and Yahoo! IM and will not care to switch.
Posted by dysonl (151 comments )
Link Flag
Google under pressure?
I think it's Google under pressure to add more value to itself now that they're public. Which I think is ok. Google is already a brand by itself. There are people who use Google products simply because they're from Google. Google keep this up and next we'll find PCs, laptops and devices with "Google Inside" stickers. :-D
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Everyone is a Google fanboy
I disagree.

Most average Internet users don't care much about the Google brand. They don't see Google as the almighty-innovative-and-cool web company that geeks like to love religiously.

Case in point, I have sent GMail invitations to members of my family (average net users). They bothered to register and create an account but did NOT care enough to actually use that GMail account regularly, as their primary email account. I have lots of friends who do not use GMail. Those that do are "experienced" web users and they work in the computer/software-related field.

I predict the same thing will happen to this goodle IM thing. Most people will keep using their cute MSN Messenger and Yahoo! IM and will not care to switch.
Posted by dysonl (151 comments )
Link Flag
Google under pressure?
I think it's Google under pressure to add more value to itself now that they're public. Which I think is ok. Google is already a brand by itself. There are people who use Google products simply because they're from Google. Google keep this up and next we'll find PCs, laptops and devices with "Google Inside" stickers. :-D
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Everyone is a Google fanboy
I disagree.

Most average Internet users don't care much about the Google brand. They don't see Google as the almighty-innovative-and-cool web company that geeks like to love religiously.

Case in point, I have sent GMail invitations to members of my family (average net users). They bothered to register and create an account but did NOT care enough to actually use that GMail account regularly, as their primary email account. I have lots of friends who do not use GMail. Those that do are "experienced" web users and they work in the computer/software-related field.

I predict the same thing will happen to this goodle IM thing. Most people will keep using their cute MSN Messenger and Yahoo! IM and will not care to switch.
Posted by dysonl (151 comments )
Link Flag
About the Google CNET press ban
Reading the story it looks like CNET not just posted public info on Schmidt but also mistakenly made the claim Google was collecting data obtained from Desktop search.

The type of people that support Google are very anti-spyware so I could see why something like that could be catastrophic to their public image especially when reported by a source which is normally as reputable as CNET.

I understand why they are not talking to you, that was a pretty big mistake.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google's CNET Boycott is wrong
CNET has written more than a few articles about what Google's technology could mean for the future of privacy on the web. In fact CNET, very much like a typical news outlet, is a bit overzealous when it comes to covering privacy issues because they know the sensationalism of it makes for happy readers. However I found indepthness and fairness of the article in question very informative and valuable reporting. Therefore there is only one reason for this Google boycott. I pointy-hair boss. To me at least, it's quite obvious Eric Schmidt had a little hissy fit at the fact that information that about him, that was publicly available from the very company he runs, was compiled together in three paragraphs as valid proof to a point the article was trying to make. The point being that information that used to be available to to a private investigator after a couple months of research is now available to a laymen in about 5 minutes of searching. I for one don't think privacy is that big of an issue as long as everyone losses the same amount of it at the same time there is still equality. But obviously Eric Schmidt needs to lose the pointy-hair, take a good close look at his company's moto, and stop trying to punish a news outlet for making a point and reporting what's in the public's interests.
Posted by gunplaygod (3 comments )
Link Flag
About the Google CNET press ban
Reading the story it looks like CNET not just posted public info on Schmidt but also mistakenly made the claim Google was collecting data obtained from Desktop search.

The type of people that support Google are very anti-spyware so I could see why something like that could be catastrophic to their public image especially when reported by a source which is normally as reputable as CNET.

I understand why they are not talking to you, that was a pretty big mistake.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google's CNET Boycott is wrong
CNET has written more than a few articles about what Google's technology could mean for the future of privacy on the web. In fact CNET, very much like a typical news outlet, is a bit overzealous when it comes to covering privacy issues because they know the sensationalism of it makes for happy readers. However I found indepthness and fairness of the article in question very informative and valuable reporting. Therefore there is only one reason for this Google boycott. I pointy-hair boss. To me at least, it's quite obvious Eric Schmidt had a little hissy fit at the fact that information that about him, that was publicly available from the very company he runs, was compiled together in three paragraphs as valid proof to a point the article was trying to make. The point being that information that used to be available to to a private investigator after a couple months of research is now available to a laymen in about 5 minutes of searching. I for one don't think privacy is that big of an issue as long as everyone losses the same amount of it at the same time there is still equality. But obviously Eric Schmidt needs to lose the pointy-hair, take a good close look at his company's moto, and stop trying to punish a news outlet for making a point and reporting what's in the public's interests.
Posted by gunplaygod (3 comments )
Link Flag
About the Google CNET press ban
Reading the story it looks like CNET not just posted public info on Schmidt but also mistakenly made the claim Google was collecting data obtained from Desktop search.

The type of people that support Google are very anti-spyware so I could see why something like that could be catastrophic to their public image especially when reported by a source which is normally as reputable as CNET.

I understand why they are not talking to you, that was a pretty big mistake.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google's CNET Boycott is wrong
CNET has written more than a few articles about what Google's technology could mean for the future of privacy on the web. In fact CNET, very much like a typical news outlet, is a bit overzealous when it comes to covering privacy issues because they know the sensationalism of it makes for happy readers. However I found indepthness and fairness of the article in question very informative and valuable reporting. Therefore there is only one reason for this Google boycott. I pointy-hair boss. To me at least, it's quite obvious Eric Schmidt had a little hissy fit at the fact that information that about him, that was publicly available from the very company he runs, was compiled together in three paragraphs as valid proof to a point the article was trying to make. The point being that information that used to be available to to a private investigator after a couple months of research is now available to a laymen in about 5 minutes of searching. I for one don't think privacy is that big of an issue as long as everyone losses the same amount of it at the same time there is still equality. But obviously Eric Schmidt needs to lose the pointy-hair, take a good close look at his company's moto, and stop trying to punish a news outlet for making a point and reporting what's in the public's interests.
Posted by gunplaygod (3 comments )
Link Flag
Invite only will go away.
Acording to Yahoo "Gmail previously was available only to those invited by a current account holder, but now Google is opening up registration to anyone in the United States."

Source here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&#38;u=/ap/20050824/ap_on_hi_te/google_messaging" target="_newWindow">http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&#38;u=/ap/20050824/ap_on_hi_te/google_messaging</a>
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Invite only will go away.
Acording to Yahoo "Gmail previously was available only to those invited by a current account holder, but now Google is opening up registration to anyone in the United States."

Source here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&#38;u=/ap/20050824/ap_on_hi_te/google_messaging" target="_newWindow">http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&#38;u=/ap/20050824/ap_on_hi_te/google_messaging</a>
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Invite only will go away.
Acording to Yahoo "Gmail previously was available only to those invited by a current account holder, but now Google is opening up registration to anyone in the United States."

Source here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&#38;u=/ap/20050824/ap_on_hi_te/google_messaging" target="_newWindow">http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&#38;u=/ap/20050824/ap_on_hi_te/google_messaging</a>
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Does it have ads?
My only gripe with AIM is that every few minutes, I'm bombarded with ads. I've had to find a third-party hack to disable them, which is not something I am typically comfortable doing. Once they started streaming Flash video ads, though, I swallowed my discomforts real quick.

AIM Today is entirely worthless, and while it can be turned off, any time you update the program, it ever-so-casually "forgets" that you didn't want that darn window popping up.

If the Google IM doesn't have ads, I would consider switching.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Does it have ads?
My only gripe with AIM is that every few minutes, I'm bombarded with ads. I've had to find a third-party hack to disable them, which is not something I am typically comfortable doing. Once they started streaming Flash video ads, though, I swallowed my discomforts real quick.

AIM Today is entirely worthless, and while it can be turned off, any time you update the program, it ever-so-casually "forgets" that you didn't want that darn window popping up.

If the Google IM doesn't have ads, I would consider switching.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Does it have ads?
My only gripe with AIM is that every few minutes, I'm bombarded with ads. I've had to find a third-party hack to disable them, which is not something I am typically comfortable doing. Once they started streaming Flash video ads, though, I swallowed my discomforts real quick.

AIM Today is entirely worthless, and while it can be turned off, any time you update the program, it ever-so-casually "forgets" that you didn't want that darn window popping up.

If the Google IM doesn't have ads, I would consider switching.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So what
What a boring IM client, there's absolutely nothing to make me want to switch from my MSN, which I use quite frequently. The customizations aren't cool (if any even), no video, yawn. Like others have said, they need something to make people want to switch.
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Original MSN looks childish
I just hope they don't make it look as childish
as the original MSN client. I also use MSN a lot
but I always use other more clean clients. But I
agree that they will have to improve sound and
video communications to get more users. Well if
they work hard this could become the best IM
client.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
Link Flag
So what
What a boring IM client, there's absolutely nothing to make me want to switch from my MSN, which I use quite frequently. The customizations aren't cool (if any even), no video, yawn. Like others have said, they need something to make people want to switch.
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Original MSN looks childish
I just hope they don't make it look as childish
as the original MSN client. I also use MSN a lot
but I always use other more clean clients. But I
agree that they will have to improve sound and
video communications to get more users. Well if
they work hard this could become the best IM
client.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
Link Flag
So what
What a boring IM client, there's absolutely nothing to make me want to switch from my MSN, which I use quite frequently. The customizations aren't cool (if any even), no video, yawn. Like others have said, they need something to make people want to switch.
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Original MSN looks childish
I just hope they don't make it look as childish
as the original MSN client. I also use MSN a lot
but I always use other more clean clients. But I
agree that they will have to improve sound and
video communications to get more users. Well if
they work hard this could become the best IM
client.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
Link Flag
You don't need GMail
You don't need GMail to use this. It is based on
open and free standard XMPP better known as
Jabber. So you can use any Jabber client you
want and you can use any Jabber server you want.
A list of some public ones is here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.jabber.org/network/" target="_newWindow">http://www.jabber.org/network/</a>
That's what is so nice about this. No one will
force you to use some client, no one will force
you to use some server and no one is going to
block connecting to server if they don't like
you client of choice. It is like e-mail. Use
whatever you like.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You don't need GMail
You don't need GMail to use this. It is based on
open and free standard XMPP better known as
Jabber. So you can use any Jabber client you
want and you can use any Jabber server you want.
A list of some public ones is here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.jabber.org/network/" target="_newWindow">http://www.jabber.org/network/</a>
That's what is so nice about this. No one will
force you to use some client, no one will force
you to use some server and no one is going to
block connecting to server if they don't like
you client of choice. It is like e-mail. Use
whatever you like.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You don't need GMail
You don't need GMail to use this. It is based on
open and free standard XMPP better known as
Jabber. So you can use any Jabber client you
want and you can use any Jabber server you want.
A list of some public ones is here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.jabber.org/network/" target="_newWindow">http://www.jabber.org/network/</a>
That's what is so nice about this. No one will
force you to use some client, no one will force
you to use some server and no one is going to
block connecting to server if they don't like
you client of choice. It is like e-mail. Use
whatever you like.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
40 million aol users?
Wow, thats a surprise... Here in Toronto, Canada I've never met anybody who uses AOL messenger... Everybody's got MSN... every single teen.

I'm going to stay with MSN for now because I a list of 146 contacts built up over the years.
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't...
... see why you can't use IM which support a variety of formats,
there are a couple for the mac like Adium (my personal favourite)
and there must be quite a few of these programs available for
windows. It's great that google are using opensource jabber for
their IM.
Posted by Filip Remplakowski (91 comments )
Link Flag
40 million aol users?
Wow, thats a surprise... Here in Toronto, Canada I've never met anybody who uses AOL messenger... Everybody's got MSN... every single teen.

I'm going to stay with MSN for now because I a list of 146 contacts built up over the years.
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't...
... see why you can't use IM which support a variety of formats,
there are a couple for the mac like Adium (my personal favourite)
and there must be quite a few of these programs available for
windows. It's great that google are using opensource jabber for
their IM.
Posted by Filip Remplakowski (91 comments )
Link Flag
40 million aol users?
Wow, thats a surprise... Here in Toronto, Canada I've never met anybody who uses AOL messenger... Everybody's got MSN... every single teen.

I'm going to stay with MSN for now because I a list of 146 contacts built up over the years.
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't...
... see why you can't use IM which support a variety of formats,
there are a couple for the mac like Adium (my personal favourite)
and there must be quite a few of these programs available for
windows. It's great that google are using opensource jabber for
their IM.
Posted by Filip Remplakowski (91 comments )
Link Flag
Bring back that pre-secondary google innovation?
I, along with lots of other, really was interested in seeing the bold move by Google in the IM space - heck, they did it in a staid space like email, of course they'd do the same in IM.

Unfortunately, what I saw with Google Talk was a really disappointing effort. Symptoms of mediocrity: 1. a proprietary, non-SIP based approach (heck, Skype lobbed you a softball on that one, and you whiffed with Jabber). 2. lack of good platform functionality - great, I have another least common denominator federation scheme (and you didn't really extend it to address its deficiencies). 3. Missing out on IM basics like file sharing, rich text, etc.. 4. no white pages - it was what allowed Skype to survive its spare namespace era. 5. really ignoring the initial create metaphor that Hello brought to sharing - how long have you owned the Picassa folk now?

I would have joined the masses a week ago in kneeling at the altar of Google innovation, but Sidebar and Google Talk have left me cold.

Shame on you for doing so little with such a great talent pool.
Posted by Jammer (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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