Thursday, August 25, 2005

Silence is broken: Google Talk launches

Google is combining instant messaging with voice mail like the other instant messenger services. It is getting into the business to compete with AOL, Yahoo, and MSN.

Google's website 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 Google's web-based email program, Gmail (Great!), both of which 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. Google Talk is based on the Jabber open-source standard, which allows consumers to connect with other messaging systems that work with Jabber, such as Adium, Apple's iChat, GAIM, Psi and Trillian Pro.

Google Talk currently works only on Windows, according to Google's website. Users need a microphone and a speaker to use the voice capabilities.

I knew there was a reason I found my microphone the other day and have been getting my speakers to work right.

By the Bayou provides her take on voice messages: "The VOIP part is potentially interesting, but it really pales next to something like Skype, which does was Google Talk does but has lots of nifty features such as buying minutes to make VOIP calls out to the phone network, or set up a number which non-Skype users can use to reach you at your computer. Not to mention their open-source approach which lets software developers build more sophisticated telephony tools around Skype's platform."

She seems to be unaware of Googles open source program with developers which has done all sorts of interesting things - for instance with Google maps this example of Show me Hot People by zip code.

So far I have avoided IM, instant messages, but I have been looking into Vonage or Time Warner RoadRunner all-in-one phone, internet, cable (phone not available at this address yet). Vonage would save money monthly over the phone bill but requires an initial investment of about $150 for the wireless router and cords we need.

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