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Google Talk
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Google Talk

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, by MultiMedia


Google Talk is a service offered by Google for Voice over IP and instant messaging. Google Talk beta was released on August 24, 2005 and consists of both a service and a client used to connect to the service. Unlike some other instant messaging services, Google Talk uses an open protocol (Jabber) for the IM part and it encourages the use of clients other than their own in connecting to the Google Talk service.

As of the launch date, the Google Talk client is available only for Windows (2000, XP, Server 2003); users of other operating systems are provided with instructions for various popular Jabber clients, such as Psi or Miranda IM for older versions of Microsoft Windows, iChat or Adium for Mac OS X and Gaim for Linux. However, any program capable of using the Jabber protocol is sufficient, although the voice over IP service only works with the Google client. Google claims they will release a specification for the voice extension in the near future.

Google Talk
Google Talk Beta
Google Talk Beta

Maintainer: Google

Latest release: 1.0.0.80 / December 14, 2005

OS: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003

Genre: VoIP/Instant messenger

License: Proprietary freeware

Website: talk.google.com

History

The idea of a Jabber-based Google IM service was proposed by Apple-X on August 22, 2004. Exactly one year later, after the rumor of a Google-branded "communications tool" service had been reported by the New York Times and detailed by the Los Angeles Times on August 22, 2005, the subdomain talk.google.com was found to have an active Jabber server . Two methods of logging into the server were discovered soon after and the ensuing response by eager bloggers revealed to numerous others how to login before the official release by Google. On the evening of August 23, many logged-in users using port 5222 to connect were disconnected and unable to log back in. Users using port 5223 to connect were still able to log in, and at 04:12:52 A.M. UTC those users received a broadcast instant message from gmail.com, an apparently official username used by Google to communicate with their user base, that stated "The broken link has been fixed. Thanks for being our first users!" Port 5222-connectivity was found to have been re-enabled.

Technical

Google has announced that a major goal of the Google Talk service is interoperability. Google Talk uses Jabber and XMPP to provide real-time extensible messaging and presence events, including offline messaging (Only through non-Google clients like Adium). However, at this time, Google Talk, unlike most Jabber servers, does not permit server-to-server communications, and as such, users of Google Talk cannot talk to users of other Jabber servers.

On December 15th 2005, Google released libjingle, a C++ library to implement Jingle, "a set of extensions to the IETF's Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) for use in voice over IP (VoIP), video, and other peer-to-peer multimedia sessions."

Google Talk does not encrypt the Jabber stream, instead using an undocumented non standard way of authenticating to the service, retrieving a token from a secure web server. Other clients than Google's own are required to secure their streams with TLS before sending the password, causing them to stay encrypted throughout the whole session. Google claims that all messages (text and voice) will be encrypted in future releases.

Offline messages are not supported so far and the configuration options available are very limited.

Tips

  • You can change the font size by focusing your mouse cursor either on the message window or input box, holding the control key down, and spinning the scroll wheel.

  • Use the keyboard: Pressing Tab cycles through conversations in each stack and the main window. Ctrl+Tab or Shift+Tab cycles backwards.

  • When you see a message notification, you can right click it to close it without focusing the conversation window.

  • To make something bold, you must place an asterisk before and after the area you want to bold: *example* turns to example

  • If you want to italicize something, you must place underscores around the area you want to italicize: _example_ turns to example

  • Between one set of '*'s or '_'s, you can have up to and including 100 characters. If you exceed this number of characters, the effect will not take place and you will get normal text with the * or _ symbols visible at either end

  • Typing a smiley like :) and :D in an IM window will make it turn bold blue like: :) and :D. Other valid smileys are :( :P :O :| :'( :x :-) :-D :-( :-P :-O :-| :-x.

  • Preceding text with a symbol from the hebrew alphabet, such as ห and ๆ, makes text bold and large.

  • Surrounding text with \\ and // makes text clickable like a link but does not lead to any url.

These tips are a feature of the Google client and not Jabber in general. They will not work with all third party clients.

Criticism, reviews, and bugs

Critics of the new service have pointed out that contrary to Gmail's philosophy of storing all information with over two gigabytes of storage, Google's own client will not log more than 20 lines of text chat. In addition, Google Talk does not allow users to search through their past conversation; this is interesting considering that Google specializes in searching. This was one of the notable features of Gmail that made it stand out over other email services.

Search Engine Watch also has argued that the product lacks the "wow" factor associated with the unveiling of other Google products like Gmail or Google Maps. In addition they cite the fact that Google Talk only allows PC to PC voice chat, not any connection to the traditional telephony network (PSTN). Several critics have begun calling the product "underwhelming," though others predict various additional (impressive) features in the future of Google Talk.

There have also been several bugs reported in the Windows client for Google Talk, including e-mail message-notification unreliability, taskbar notification problems during conversations with more than one contact, and tab-sizing problems. Also it appears that using the escape key to close chat windows does not work if the window has been open for a moderate amount of time. Similarily, the buddy list window, if left un-minimized for a length of time, automatically "maximizes" (to the same size), and has to be "restored" with Windows in order to minimize once again.

Many people would like to see server-to-server communication enabled, to make Google Talk part of the larger Jabber network. There is also no official conference or chat room feature, meaning that users can talk to only one person at a time; however, a user-created Python script enables a chat room to be hosted by users with unused accounts .

Many critics, while noting its lack of features, are refreshed at the clean look as compared with other instant messengers. This clean look is consistent with many of Google's current projects, from its home page to its mapping service.

Future releases

Google reports that they are working on adding new features, and many clues found within Google Talk's Privacy Policy suggest Google Talk will support file transfers . Google has a good track record of following up on user suggestions in their Gmail product. Unlike with Gmail, Google is not disclosing what features they are working on in general, although an FAQ states that they are working on adding rich text formatting features. (Google's public statement is that one cannot change the formatting in instant messages. This is not true.)

More recently, Google has opened up to the people about its support for Server to Server communication between Jabber servers . However, the actual support has yet to be integrated into the messenger.

As part of Google's 5% acquisition of AOL on December 20, 2005 , Google Talk users will be able to communicate with AOL's market-leading AIM instant messaging service . Google Talk users will require an AIM screen name in order to communicate with AIM users .

See also

References

External links


Google Guide made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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