Google “Talk”? What’s that phrase about “Jack of all trades, master of none”..?

Again, the first time something meaningful and direct about Google “Talk” (I have to put in inverted commas because it really is a joke calling it that) comes from ZDNet – Most of the press have been singing it’s praises, but I actually shouted at the TV news when they started harping on about it last week.

There’s nothing new or special about Google “Talk”, and really, it’s Google Chat, not “Talk”. They bought out an Instant Messaging company months ago, so it’s not exactly out of the blue. It’s not replacing your normal telephone, it’s an instant messaging client with voice capabilites. Hell, this has been around for 6 years or more. MSN and Yahoo!, the two main competitors, along with AOL for Stateside-users, have also had webcam facilities for 4+ years, so there really is nothing special about Google’s IM offering. It’s actually a backward step 6 years into the past in terms of functionality.

Jabber is nothing special either, though they boast this makes their standards open. And? If that’s the case, why a Microsoft-only client direct from themsevles? Okay, so an open-source IM client on other OS’ will connect in, but you can also connect into the other major IM services with open-source clients. Nothing remarkable there then.

Skype, on the other hand, has been massively growing in size without much press coverage which is a shame, as that is a truly revelational service, and widely recognised as being such. That’s real “Talk”. Call out to normal numbers, have normal telephones call in to you, voicemail capabilites, etc. as well as your normal IM chat messages. Goggle only offers voice chat between their users, and for that you need a Gmail account, meaning you sign your life over to their privacy policy. Funny how the press barracked Microsoft with Windows Media Player built-in to Windows claiming they were forcing you into obtaining their media software whether you used it or not, but it’s wonderful to use Google “Talk” so long as you agree to their privacy issues. That doesn’t make sense. I know many people aren’t bothered, and admitedly the services offered by Gmail such as message grouping / threading, extensive searching and the space is useful, but they’re still forcing you into obtaining a Gmail account to use the service. Yes, MSN, Yahoo!, AOL will do the same, but they also have a lot more services on offer in their IM systems to make it worthwhile creating an account.

To be honest, I don’t know that many people using Gmail as their primary e-mail system that don’t already have a Hotmail and/or Yahoo! account and running the IM services from those two providers. Of those that are running Gmail, how many have said they’re gonna use Google “Talk”? None. Says a lot when your existing users aren’t interested in your service…


Senior Content Development for Microsoft writing about Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Model train nerd. Occasionally I play video games.

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