Rumors of a Google instant messenger launch turned out to be true tonight with the launch of Google Talk. After playing with Google Talk for a bit, most find that Google Talk lacks the "Google Wow" factor of previous Google product launches. Google Talk is missing any sort of search, doesn't save conversation histories, and requires a GMail account (which is frustrating since that means your friend list is limited to friends with GMail and the 30 you invite). Sure, Google Talk supports the open Jabber standard; and while it is commendable that Google is making a stand here for interoperability, none of the "big three" widely used IM clients support Jabber, so it's really not that big of a deal. With GMail and Google Maps, Google took a supposedly mature product arena and completely changed the rules. GMail challenged Yahoo to lift its arcane space limitations, and Google Maps ushered in a new era of AJAXian web development. Google Talk replicates what is already out there, and not very well. Yes, Google Talk supports voice, but there's nothing really new or exciting about it. Hell, Google Talk doesn't even have smileys. Update by Mike: The folks at Silicon Beat note that as part of this launch, Google is opening up Gmail so it's no longer invite-only, which solves one small point made above.
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