A review of Google Talk: Not yet revolutionary or compelling

As hyped in breathless news articles over the last few days, Google came out with their own IM (instant messaging) client this evening, Google Talk.

VERDICT: Clean, uncluttered, intuitive, and rather unexciting in its current version.

To be frank, I was (somewhat unfairly) disappointed with GTalk. Granted, it’s just v1 of a public beta, so I shouldn’t be so greedy, but… unlike with Gmail, I didn’t see anything that made me go WOW!

Great voice quality? Sure, but Skype has already got that (and also already has a humungous userbase).

Ad-free (at least for now)? Yes, but so is Trillian, the IM app I already use and love. Incidentally, the Pro version of Trillian (a very worthwhile buy, IMHO), along with other clients, can connect to the Google network. This is because Google is smartly and unselfishly running their chat service on the open source Jabber platform.

And indeed, I’m having trouble seeing how Gtalk will gain traction for the time being. AIM, Yahoo, and MSN users really have little incentive to switch, especially since GTalk doesn’t (at least yet) interoperate with the big 3. Trillian users… I can’t see any reason why they’d switch, either. Skype folks? As noted above, I simply can’t forsee any defections.

Let me sprinkle in a few positive notes, though:

You can run an ’embedded’ form of GTalk within the Google Desktop sidebar. Exit GD, wait a few moments, then restart it. Click the little down-arrow at the top right, select ADD/REMOVE PANELS, and check off Google Talk.

Google Talk replaces the current Gmail Notifier, and that’s handy.

GTalk scans your existing GMail address book, and lets you easily find and invite others to GTalk.

Oh, and there’s a puzzling little easter egg in the About dialog box. Click on the ABOUT link in GTalk (or the sidebar component), and you’ll notice this in light text towards the bottom:

play 23 21 13 16 21 19 . 7 1 13 5

Anyone wanna guess what the significance of that is? 23, undoubtedly, stands for the 23rd of August — the release day, but the rest…? Maybe it’s something that, if you can solve it, you get a Google job offer? Get cracking! 😀

Anyway, I’m guessing (and hoping) that Googlers have a trick or two up their sleeve with regards to this new product.

What are your thoughts on this?



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5 responses to “A review of Google Talk: Not yet revolutionary or compelling”

  1. Adam Avatar

    Oh my, that’s amusing! 😀 Thanks for the link!

  2. david sanger Avatar

    Interoperability would be a huge step one day. And using iChat on Mac skips all of the Google account/mail tie-ins, as well as the voice.

    By the way the link you left in Google Blogoscoped had extra characters. and didn’t work.


  3. John Avatar

    Adam, as i found in industry,
    Google talk is much better in use for connecting with long distance. Well no one preferred yahoo for the same.
    Competition is still with hotmail.

  4. SEO Florida Avatar

    Google talk is very easy to use, having great sound quality, quick connection, higher speed and secure chat functionality, it’s lil bit back of skype in online communication business, still G Talk now having millions of visitors those are accessing it from various countries, and it shows G Talk becoming so popular worldwide.

What do you think?