Google Talk: why?

So Google Talk launched today. Well, I’m not sure about this. I know this is only day one, and I am sure that Google have loads more stuff up their sleeve. But part of me just keeps on thinking, is that it?

Sure, there are some quaint features. But it is basic. In that sense it’s typically Google — straight and to the point, with no stupid crap to dress it up. That means no nudges, winks, or any of the other deeply annoying stuff that comes with MSN Messenger. But it also means no avatars, no smilies even. Smilie text comes up in blue, which probably means something, but as far as I can tell it only means it comes up in blue for the moment. A plus point is that there are no adverts. Apparently Google Talk is about pushing Gmail rather than ads.

It’s also pretty lonely. This is the problem with messengers in general. Why bother downloading it if all your contacts are on MSN Messenger? My only contact on Google Talk at the moment is my brother, but I bet most of the time I’ll be using MSN to communicate with him online.

And even if I wanted to, persuading my friends to download Google Talk will be very tough. You need a Gmail account to use Google Talk. And it might be amazing to some people out there, but there are loads of people who have still never even heard of Gmail. Giving out my email address can sometimes be a right pain in the arse.

“What was that? Gee-mail? Gee-mail?” (And that’s after having got through all the ‘doctorvee’ nonsense…)

So what would I say to get people to use Google Talk? First of all I will get, “but MSN is just fine,” which is true (despite nudges and other crap like that). And even if I get past that stage I will have to explain the fact that they need a Gmail account at which point it will be, “nah, I don’t think I’ll bother.” And who can blame them? And Gmail is still invite-only! I even know one person who never (I really do mean never) checks his email (really, how do you manage without checking your email?!), so how would I be able to persuade him to get another email account?

The Gmail notifier on Google Talk is quite cool, but I had a perfectly fine Gmail notifier anyway.

The call feature might be something, but I have never had the desire to use Skype at all, and I don’t imagine using this feature much at all. The computer is in the hall, so about half of the house would probably be able to hear my conversations, which would probably be an inconvenience for everybody.

People are comparing this to Gmail for obvious reasons. This is Google taking quite a large step here. The problem is, Google Talk has nothing of note. Gmail had a gig of email (now over 2.5 gigs and rising) that got everybody excited, as well as the fact that it was clean and easy and all the rest of it. Apart from the fact that it’s clean and easy, what’s Google Talk got to excite anyone?

As I say though, this is only day one, so I’m not writing it off yet. It sounds like Google has way more up its sleeve here.

If anybody is interested, you can add me if you want a chat on Google Talk at the obvious address, doctorvee [at] gmail [dot] com (which, incidentally, is also the address I use for MSN!).

And if you want a Gmail invite, I’ve still got about 100 kicking around, so just let me know if you want one.


  1. It is going to be a struggle to fight against the likes of AIM and MSN, but I’m happy that Google are using open source software (Google Talk is based on the Jabber IM protocol). Jabber has been around for a long time, but it has needed something like this to give it a kickstart.

  2. Google breaking its philosophy?

    I’ve been wondering when Google would start to break it’s lofty philosphies stated on it’s corporate website. While it is noble to forsake the expansion of your business and the pursuit of higher profits, publicly owned companies ha…

  3. If you want to know why, then the rather long piece on Channel 4 News just now, explaining how you can use Google Talk as an internet phone service is probably why. While VOIP and IM might be old hat to us bloggers, it’s the latest bright new shiny thing for the majority of the population, and now lovely wonderful Google have brought it to them.

    Google Earth is a mission statement, not a product 🙂

  4. Well this sums up my thoughts about Google Talk. But i see it in a different way, if google can give Jabber a kick up the arse to implement web-cams then this could be big. Jabber is already capable of connecting to the other IM services in one client (also one connection as although you still have to sign up for each network, then link it to your jabber server account, you only connect via the jabber server rather then MSN, AIM and Yahoo all at the same time). What we really need is interoperability, and if google let you use MSN, AIM and Yahoo accounts with Google talk (is possible) then it will be a big wake up call to the big 3

  5. I saw the report on the Six O’Clock News. I think the ‘news’ here is that Google has scratched its arse. Next week they’ll start something like a photo sharing site, and they’ll get free publicity on every news bulletin in the western world without having done anything notable. A good day’s work.

  6. Google Talk Just a “Me too” product – for now

    In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about Google Talk’s impending launch today. I tried to test Google Talk as quickly as I could and blog my testing experiences here. Further, yesterday I pondered, "…the ability for Google Talk to do…

  7. I read in a news story, I think in the Register that Google WILL be implementing the ability to connect to all the other services – if that does happen then it really is a strong news story – a big, well known brand launching a messenger client that can connect to any other network.

    If they implement webcams, smillies and avaters I will use it all the time I expect but right now can’t be arsed to download it.

    As for the phone feature – will you be able to call normal landlines or just other google talk users?

    If you can call landlines then I might invest in a wifi phone.

  8. If it’s just other Google Talk users then it just strikes me as a pointless marketing excersize – I mean creating a messenger client based on an existing protocol isn’t exactly taxing for a major company like Google