Google Forgets The Wow With New IM Client

from the something's-not-quite-right dept

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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Oliver Starr, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 2:53am

    GoogleTalk Fails to Wow

    I read The Google post by Dennis just about two hours after downloading and having a few conversations with folks online, as well as making the following post over at The Mobile Technology Weblog.

    Although I agree in principal with what Dennis has said, that Google has put up a fairly uninspiring let's go so far as to call it "vanilla" IM/Voice Client, I think that this blandness is intentional. While I for one am tired of the excessive exuberance associated with anything Google, a phenomenon I am calling the GoogleGrip (as in gripped in the throes of madness), I would never make the mistake of underestimating the intelligence of the folks at Google. I think they've very intentionally left this IM client as much like a plain sheet of paper as they can. Why?

    Lash Ups. I think they fully expect the developer community to go nuts. I can imagine how integration of Google Maps or Google Earth with this client will lead to some amazing localization tools. What about a virtual trace route from 10,000 feet? How about "your friends at night" an application that localizes based upon IP addresses where each of you friends happen to be at any given time.

    Are all of these applications going to be useful? Probably not. Possible? Perhaps. Entertaining? Absolutely.

    Google is, if nothing else, a company comprised of tremendously creative folks. If they've done something that seems to smack of sameness or a lack of there characteristic "colorful" approach, I'd have to bet there's a reason.



    -Oliver Starr "stitch" The Mobile Technology Weblog

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Dave Grijalva, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 3:24am

    Expect more from Google Talk

    While I agree that this release of Google Talk is a bit vanilla, I think it's really the start of something more. There are so many cool Google technologies out already; it seems like they're just starting to fully integrate them all.

    My prediction is that we'll soon see an online, searchable chat log as either part of google desktop or gmail. Also, they recently announced a very promising new translation technology which they've yet to release to the public. It would be really swell of them to turn that bad boy on for chatting. Also, Jabber servers are (with a little bit of extra code) capable of connecting users to the "big three" chat services transparently to the user. Check out jabber.com.au for an example of this.

    My point, really, is that I think Google is just getting their client out there and much more goodness is yet to come. Much of the really cool functionality (like history and translation) can be done on the server side, so they don't have to worry about upgrades there. Also, they've already shown with Google Desktop and the Gmail Notifier that they can deliver really small, self upgrading applications. There's no reason to believe the Google Talk application will not just upgrade itself when they're ready to really turn on the juice with this thing.

    Google knows as well as anybody that nobody wants yet another IM client. We'll see something cool from this yet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Ben H, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 3:54am

    It's an IM client

    and that's great - I've been waiting for months for Google to launch a Gmail-associated chat client. I haven't used my Hotmail account for years so there's nothing keeping me at MSN, and I never took to YahooIM for whatever reason. AIM still bears the stigma of AOLness, despite their attempts to seperate it. Gmail on the other hand is great - it works, it's got lots of space, and it's free. Most people I know have opened Gmail accounts, for the storage. This client is just what I'd hoped it'd be - simple, lightweight, with no fluff. No smileys? Great - I'm not 12!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Danno, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 4:27am

    No Subject Given

    People complaining about the blandness don't seem to be mentioning that it's got the cleanest and slickest chat interface of ANY of the messengers out there.

    I too lament the lack of some basic things like file transfer and so on, but the promise of the future is awesome.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Peter Soliman, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 5:07am

    Lack of "Smilies"

    Alright... you complain about lack of smilies in google talk (which is not that great i do admit but its in its first step) Well you gotta remember that about 2 or 3 weeks ago, Microsoft patented the emoticon. Now if there was no patent, Google would probably have put them in but they were no doubt left out because Google shouldn't have to pay Microsoft royalties on the patent that was used in a free service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Ren, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 5:07am

    No Subject Given

    It has the better interface of the IMs I've used/tried, perhaps needs a few additions (conferencing & file sending).

    Smileys? Who cares about Smileys, rather glad it doesn't have them, just pointless extra fluff that offers no real value.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 6:18am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I too was surprised by the lack of file transfer, but then realized that since it's tied to my GMail account - and the person on the other end has a GMail account - all I have to do is GMail it to them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    John, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 6:46am

    Come on!

    At some point, it would be great to interject a bit of realism in this dialog - the client was a BIG disappointment. With all the hype, I wanted to see something that interested me. Let me see.... No SIP support (yet another proprietary answer - yes, that's what jabber represents to me), no file transfer, no sharing, etc..
    If you want to see a "platform", look no further than Skype - much more interesting extensibility. If you want a good heads-down IM client, go with the big three.
    I do like a bunch of what GOOG does - but neither sidebar nor Google Talk does the trick for me.
    Heck, they had a year to take Hello and build off the whole sharing metpahor it creatively implemented.
    No soup for you, Larry!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    oskizzle, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 6:47am

    No Subject Given

    it seems that google would have a pretty good idea about the chatting world. this article mentions that google talk does not have smileys. does that mean they will come out in a future release? with the release of gmail, it seems they took a lot of advice from people who freely offered it up. i think the same will happen for talk. google groups will fire up a discussion about it, and google talk developers will sit and wait for the new ideas to filter in....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    JohnO, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 7:10am

    RE: Talk

    I think a closer tie with gmail would be great. First, log all your conversations, have them searchable from Talk, or Gmail. (Check that, conversations are being logged, I think: "Save recent chat history")

    Second I like the fact that the contact list is generated from your Gmail contact list (the start of one repository for everything). It also servers the role of gmail notifier (In the settings there is a checkbox)

    Intergration with Maps would be very neat, although the question is usefullness. I also agree that this is the best UI for chat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    TheSeer, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 7:11am

    You've got to admit..

    That the fact the download is only 900kb! is fantastic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    aleeya (profile), Aug 24th, 2005 @ 8:21am

    About Time

    Personally, I am READY for a plain vanilla messenger. ICQ used to be nice and simple... then AOL bought it. AIM.. well... too much junk on it. MSN.. WAY too much beels and whistles and junk.

    It is about time someone made something plain and simple. I welcome it with open arms.

    say NO to bloatware and yes to vanilla!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Dan, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 8:30am

    Re: You've got to admit..

    Yeah a small download is nice, as well as the small footprint on my drive. Now, in the next Beta, ppplllleeeaaaasssseee let me choose my own directory.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    anonymous, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 9:27am

    AIM is the defacto standard

    Given that AIM has 2x the userbase of Yahoo or MSN Google better have a really interesting idea of how to get 40 million members to switch from AIM to the Google client... This product is just plain boring. I dont care if AIM still has the AOL stuff associated with I'm going to use the service where I have people to talk to. If i use googles client i'll just be talking to myself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Dave, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 9:46am

    Beta And Not Listed.

    For everyone complaining about how plain Google Talk is... How about all of you just wait a while. It's not even listed on their Google Services page or their Google Labs page. So give them a break. It's an open door for developers at this stage. Google doesn't want to have a product that everyone else has. It's left simple and open for the development community to come up with brand new innovative ideas without having too many distractions.

    Just my 2 cents so take it for it's worth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    thatguy, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 10:04am

    Rumors look more promising...

    Yes this is a basic small simple IM program that will be developed more by the community and google itself. There is definately a plan here from them.

    Interesting facts to NOT forget:

    1. Google releases small, and, much to the suprise of everyone, featureless IM client.

    2. Skype recently turned down a 3 BILLION dollar offer to sell to CNET.

    3. Google just sold 4 BILLION dollars worth of stock.

    What do you think people?

    Why wouldn't Google want to incorporate Skype technology with their new IM client along with all the other additions that will be made by them and the community. This is the beginning of reinventing the way we communicate; courtesy of Google.

    Why wouldn't Skype hold out for Google? Skype is a business much like Google who are in it for the technology and they want to see something great done with their creation. Maybe the deal is already done and been kept on the DL. Who knows.

    In addition, Google doesn't currently have any non-ad-based revenue. Skype has skype-in and skype-out which will make revenue for Google if they buy them out. It is important for Google to create new/different types of revenue in the future to justify such a high stock value. Ads can only go so far...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 24th, 2005 @ 10:31am

    Re: Beta And Not Listed.

    See, that's the thing, though. Even if Google does have plans for it, this is still very unlike Google. They usually don't launch something unless they have a "new" take on ways to improve it. This is totally "me too." We don't need another chat client sitting in the task bar. What's special about this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    jesirose, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 11:25am

    Gmail Invites

    Correction - you have 100 invites, not 30.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Riley, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 11:58am

    Re: AIM is the defacto standard

    >>
    If i use googles client i'll just be talking to myself.
    >>

    The 'Wow' factor that no one is talking about however is that Google's IM is NOT a closed system like AIM/YIM/MSN. Jabber is nothing new, but to date it has not had much backing. There were an estimated 13.5 million Jabber users in July, that is just under the MSN's 14 mil and Yahoo's 19 mil users. With a marketing push from Google and 6 months time, its not at all unconcievable that the Jabber compatible network combined could move into second place past Yahoo - at the very least it will surpass MSN. At this point Yahoo and MSN will be in a bad spot. Every wanna-be software firm out there (not to mention Google) will be able to write an IM client that can compete in size with their netowrks. Rather than conceed their users to an open social network that has a huge amount of momentum and buzz, they will likely decide to open up their own networks and make them compatible with Jabber. Once that happens and Jabber, Google, Yahoo, MSN and a score of other smaller players are on the same network... the writing will be on the wall for AIM to also switch or be completely displaced in the market.

    Users will demand open communications. In the same way that Phone and Email networks could not be restricted to closed networks, IM will be no different. A year from now the competitive IM landscape will be significantly different. Whether Google's client can capture a huge amount of marketshare in this area is not the main story here - the fact is that they will shift the market to be open and anyone not adapting to that will not survive very long. I'm sure the big 3 know this and are simply waiting for it to be forced upon them. By simply obtaining a couple million IM users and by encouraging an open standard, Google wins. This is the reason for the early, barebones launch - the sooner they start this process, the better for them to disrupt their competitors. In 6 months, they can completely undermined the market leaders that have spent 10 years entrenching their position.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 24th, 2005 @ 12:17pm

    Re: AIM is the defacto standard

    The 'Wow' factor that no one is talking about however is that Google's IM is NOT a closed system like AIM/YIM/MSN.

    Hmm. We do talk about it the post above, but it's not that "wow". Lots of other products use Jabber. If Google's product doesn't offer something compelling to get people to switch, it won't put any pressure on the others to open up.

    Hey, they may get there eventually. It just seems odd that they released this product without having that in it initially, as they normally do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 12:43pm

    Re: AIM is the defacto standard

    Why are there always comments about Google "not continuing to do business as they have in the past."

    I don't understand what's so strange about Google possibly shifting or transforming their business decisions. So they aren't sticking to their traditional way of releasing products. OK. Maybe that's the idea.

    The more predictable you are, the easier you are to defeat. And I feel this goes along with everything in the world.

    Unlike the MPAA and RIAA, Google is willing to alter the way they provide their services.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Riley, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 1:36pm

    Re: AIM is the defacto standard

    Very little of the talk is actually about Jabber though, and even less of that is dealing with how that will affect the existing social networks. Before today, most people likely had no idea what Jabber was, and even now they likely don't care at all about the underlying technology. Most conversations are revolving around the lack of smilies and file transfers or how Google will compete against the 40 million person social networks.

    Lots of products may use Jabber, but they are not well known. They are not being advertised on the main pages of the popular web portals and the network is small and fragmented into niche markets. Google can change that simply by exposure. The early release of a simple, clean, fast client will kickstart the process. Having a major player in an open network is the real compelling feature of this client and is something that has been sorely lacking since IM first came on the scene. The 3 established players probably figure they can make more profits now with closed IM systems as long as there are relatively few players... but they also likely know this situation will not last. Once the ball starts rolling to an open network, they will not risk being left behind and will quickly jump on the bandwagon. The reality of the situation is probably that they are confomfortable with this happening as long as they are not the ones that have to go through the grunt work of establishing the open network. The fact that Google is willing to make the commitment to do this, and will likely risk operating this portion of the company at a loss is what is striking to me. Strategically for the Google the undertaking should be worthwhile simply to level the playing field with their competitors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    beau, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 2:32pm

    Re: It's an IM client

    Gmail is too big brother for me. They never delete your emails, ooh thanks! Why do they need to keep all that data on their servers? Customer service? I doubt it. Most people don't need 800 gigs(sarcasm) of space for an email account. Who knows what they are doing with all that data. Like the CEO of Google said, "We are moving to a Google that knows more about you."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Carlo, Aug 24th, 2005 @ 3:37pm

    Re: AIM is the defacto standard

    While Google might use an "open" protocol (Jabber), Google's network is hardly open.

    Before today, most people likely had no idea what Jabber was, and even now they likely don't care at all about the underlying technology.

    After today, most people still won't have an idea what Jabber is, and they still won't care about the underlying technology. Normal people won't care if it uses Jabber, or whatever else. They'll see it doesn't work like the IM programs they're used to, and they'll wonder why they should start using this instead of AIM, or MSN or Yahoo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    War, Aug 25th, 2005 @ 12:55am

    fooy

    Beta 1.. Your comments are interesting but only valid to the point of no return.. GTalk is in very early Beta stages so although comments are great I fear that negative comments are not valid.

    Smilies! Haar. I like the blue ":D" MSN & ICQ are invasive and intensive whereas Google as always have kept the design simple. It blends into my Desktop instead of invading it. So far so good in my opinion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Marc, Aug 25th, 2005 @ 3:37am

    No Subject Given

    I was expecting the google desktop search to intergrate with Google Talk

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Chris, Aug 26th, 2005 @ 6:33am

    Basically badly written lies and guesses

    > After playing with Google Talk for a bit, most
    > find that Google Talk lacks the "Google Wow"

    Most find? You mean you think this is right, so you can say 'most find' please do tell what you population of people you are talking about, and what sample you choose, and what methods you used.

    > (which is frustrating since that means your
    > friend list is limited to friends with GMail and
    > the 30 you invite)

    No it uses Jabber, you can add any jabber person to it... ass. THey don't say if it is SIP complaint tho...

    > . 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,

    Twat! So which is it? it is shit because you cannot add anyone... or it is shit that you can add people from other jabber clients, but not any of the larger ones?

    Try and add a fucking msn user to yahoo IM you fucking dumb ass idiot, don't take you general qualms about non-standard IM techs out on googletalk AND slam google for choosing the redundant path of interoperability.

    > limitations, and Google Maps ushered in a new
    > era of AJAXian web development.

    Don't fucking invent new ways of using acronym words.

    > 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.

    It does have smileys, NON GRAPHICAL ones. Now, I am sure if there was a demand for fun graphical smileys it will come, but I am not 100% sure if they want, or if this is a good time to stop being so minimalist.

    ALSO yes I am sure there will be version two, look at picasa 2 and desktop 2.

    Google talk (if SIP complaint) is a good thing. I have Skype, Gizmo and Google Talk. The simplcitiy of the interface is fantastic. Yes it needs more, they are listening to developers perhaps to refine it, but you arguments were all either incorrect or redundant.

    > Google is opening up Gmail so it's no longer
    > invite-only, which solves one small point made
    > above.

    Again bullshit: they opened up gmail to people registering with mobiles, and the first 'small point' was incorrect anyway.

    I only got to this page from a reg link I think, fucking shit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Beysim, Aug 26th, 2005 @ 6:34am

    No Subject Given

    You don't need to have Gmail account. Only Google account https://www.google.com/accounts/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    pleabiluounictinium, Aug 26th, 2005 @ 6:36am

    Re: No Subject Given

    it does

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Bob shcitlke, Aug 26th, 2005 @ 6:37am

    Good point

    File transfer will be added tho, for real transfers not through a mail server (upto 2x the transfer time) and > 10mb file support.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Skweek, Oct 12th, 2005 @ 8:16am

    No Subject Given

    Why does this "review" focus on the client? If you don't like Google's own, you can fire up your browser and download any of the other dozens of XMPP clients out there. That automatically gives you smiles (and I can't believe someone would seriously complain about the lack thereof, but...), file transfers, message history, and pretty much everything else you ask.

    Do a proper review next time and with a bit of luck you won't end up being linked from from The Register.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 12th, 2005 @ 8:33am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Why does this "review" focus on the client?

    Perhaps because that was what released?

    If a movie reviewer doesn't like the movie he's going to review, he should just make his own, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Gaurav, Jan 12th, 2006 @ 10:04am

    Re: No Subject Given

    not really, if the movie reviewer doesnt like the movie hes going to reviewm he gives it a really bad review, not make a new movie. I mean who has the money?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Joikovski, Jan 22nd, 2006 @ 4:51am

    Casino Ratings

    Interesting site, it is well written. Registration not so was pleasant, and with scripts of a problem. Let's vary references, or banners. Write, how solve.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Martini, Feb 2nd, 2006 @ 5:32pm

    Gambling reviews

    Hi. Images are not loading.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This