Instant Messaging With Integrated VoIP: Google Talk Is Here
Google has just officially released Google Talk, a new Windows-based multi-protocol instant messaging and VoIP solution which supports open standards like XMPP and transparently interconnects with other popular IM platforms.
Google Talk has also strong hooks into its web-based GMail service from which it automatically pre-loads all of your email contacts.
To start using Google Talk you need to have an open GMail account.
After you download Google Talk, all you need to do is to sign in with your GMail username and password and then you are immediately ready to invite your friends and work colleagues to download Google Talk themselves. Once they do, you'll be able to talk or IM with them instantly.
Google Talk also does everything the GMail Notifier used to do, and can show notifications for new messages in your GMail account, as well as for incoming calls or chats. Invitations to contacts who do not already have a GMail account is supported by a Google integrated invitation to GMail.
Google Talk does not yet support encryption of chats or calls in this early Beta version though it promises to fully support them in its final release.
On the other hand Google Talk does already allow to save full transcripts of IM chat exchanges locally on your computer, without Google having access or storing any of that information on its own servers.
Google Talk sports a clean and uncluttered interface that does not scare off non technical users or first-time users of IM/VoIP tools.
The tool responds extremely well and feels immediately snappy and responsive to any command given (unlike some other IM tools), making its use easy and very intuitive. The UI is as simple as it can be and the user is left with little or no doubts about what to do next or how to perform any action. All of the few commands and options are readily available in front of her.
On the other hand in my initial set of test calls I have had some of the typical audio issues that I often encounter with Skype when the connection between the two parties is not god enough. Robotic sound playing back in slow motion. With my first test contact I had to dial in three times before getting an acceptable sound quality.
I have also noticed that when running Skype concurrently with Google Talk the quality of the audio conversation is compromised. Switching Skype off resolves the issue immediately. (Do you have the same experience?)
Google Talk is also completely free and it requires Windows XP/2000, minimum 56k (broadband recommended). While Mac and Linux platforms are not yet supported, users can connect to Google Talk from those types of computers using other IM clients that support the standard XMPP protocol, such as Trillian, GAIM, iChat, Adium, and Psi.
The voice technology behind Google Talk is provided by Global IP Sound and it is the same one used by Skype and many other prominent VoIP players.
Google has also published a list of Google Talk compatible headsets that can be bought online.
Google Talk does not add pop-up ads, nor text-based ads in any of the screens used by its new IM technology.
According to its license Google Talk does not also allow kids under 13 to use this tool nor the dialing of emergency calls to any public service.
You can download Google Talk (900K) right now at:
For more information on Google Talk see the dedicated Google Talk Help Center.
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