by Mike Masnick

Google Mixes Chat Peanut Butter With Email Chocolate

from the and-gets-what-exactly? dept

It seems that just about everyone is discussing Google's latest move to embed its chat functionality directly into its Gmail offering. While we were trashed left and right in the comments for suggesting that the original Google Talk product lacked a lot of the "wow" factor we had come to expect from Google launches, Google Talk has failed to gain much of a following so far. That does not mean (and we never intended to imply that it would) that the company won't continue to innovate and (maybe) eventually get the formula right. Integrating it directly into Gmail is an interesting move, but probably not enough on its own. If Google really wanted to make a splash, why not go even further and figure out a way to get it to work with all of the various IM platforms out there? While Google Talk does work with some lesser known IM systems and (eventually) will work with AIM, Google is in a strong enough position that they could simply copy startup Meebo and offer more complete web-based integration of various IM clients. That move would suddenly get a lot more interest in the product, since it would be more than "yet another IM offering." It would obviously upset some of the other IM players, but whoever said that was a problem?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 1:39am


    And I just bought peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars during my midnight shopping trip to the supermarket 2 hours ago. Maybe we are clones.

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

  2. icon
    Richard (profile), Feb 7th, 2006 @ 4:03am

    They could, but they can't

    Google could turn on the necessary transports to get gtalk to interoperate with MSN, Yahoo, ICQ/AIM et al tomorrow - but they won't, for two reasons:

    • The proprietary networks tolerate third parties connecting to them at the moment for the simple reason that none of the competitors (trillian, gaim, web-based things, other jabber servers) are big enough for them to notice. The IM networks are a combination of brand/marketing tool and an ad-revenue tool, and having a few thousand (tens, hundreds of thousands?) of the more savvy people on their network doesn't do their brand any harm, doesn't cause a significant drop in ad revenue, and just doesn't bother them. Google may be a different story, and it's pretty trivial for the proprietary networks to break third-party clients whenever the whim takes them...
    • Without the support of the proprietary network, there is no sensible way to interoperate without requiring the user to have an account on all the networks, and having either the gtalk client (trillian/gaim-style) or the gtalk servers (jabber transport style) login to the proprietary network on their behalf. You can provide one-way comms, from gtalk into the proprietary network, but unless the proprietary network is cooperating, there will be no return route for a conversion - which makes it a dead-end for communication. Having multiple accounts multiplexed through a single client or server works fine for techies and other people who may be willing to take a little inconvenience in the name of interop and communication - but my mum (who uses MSN, unfortunately) isn't going to stand for it.

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

  3. icon
    OBM (profile), Feb 7th, 2006 @ 4:27am


    bear with me... I get to a point in a moment...
    I use GAIM at the moment. It rocks. I can talk to MSN and Y! users with no effort. Sadly no Gtalk support there just yet.
    I don't use Skype because the IM facility sucks and I type more than I talk to folks
    If one of these players can come up with a combined VoIP solution that lets me communicate seamlessly with the others... I'd pay for the damn thing (I don't want adverts) or I'll go for the one that has the highest traction with the users I communicate most with... and hands down at the moment it's MSN
    While it's great to see Google blurring the boundries between mail and chat (something that I think will be productive, and also help procude more coherent logs) unless there are open system so an Outlook user or a Gmail user or an MS-LiveMail user can IM with a jabber user or call a SIP user... it's just going to be more pain for folks

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

  4. identicon
    Jimmy Bear Pearson, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 4:48am

    Chat, Google, and the little engine that could...

    Instant messaging has arguably become the text walkie-talkie of personal and business communications. It is now engrained and is important as a means of efficient (and, from a personal point of view, fun) communications that is as real-time as it gets without using POTS and voice.

    Email is lingua franca for communications in business and, to some extent personal use. Email is used for paper trails, appointment reminders, save-able long-term-multi-user “conversations”, and lots more. I can’t think of a day in my work for the last decade that hasn’t included email as an important component.

    Google has arguably been good for innovation (have *you* tried Google Earth?). They’re fostering ideas and free thinking. Perhaps Google’s IM and email thing isn’t knock-your-socks-off (yet)… just give them time. I believe they’ll innovate in such a way as to take the essence of real-time conversation and combine it with archive-able communication in a big way.

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

  5. identicon
    MadJo, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 4:55am

    Re: communication

    Gtalk == Jabber (the text part) + Jingle (VOIP part).

    Though indeed GAIM does not yet have the VOIP support (it is being worked on, if I understand things correctly), GTalk text-chatting is easily done in GAIM.

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

  6. identicon
    Danno, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 5:14am

    Transports are open, not directly, but still...

    I'm able to communicate with everyone on my AIM buddy list right now through a 3rd party Jabber transport that I was able to connect GMail too.

    Not that I usually talk to a lot of people on AIM, but still, I like the clean interface of GTalk better.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 6:34am

    No Subject Given

    I doubt that Reese's would appreciate your analogy.

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

  8. identicon
    Der Herr, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 7:32am

    Re: communication

    Sadly no Gtalk support there just yet.

    Au contraire:

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

  9. identicon
    hollums, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 9:06am

    Re: Surreal

    And I just bought peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars during my midnight shopping trip to the supermarket 2 hours ago. Maybe we are clones.

    I lol'd. Thanks for that.

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

  10. identicon
    CyberMage, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 9:06am

    Re: Surreal

    You moron (and I mean that politely to be silly)... it's a reference to an early 1980's reeses cup commercial where two guys are walking around a corner - one eathing a bar of chocolate, the other with an inexplicably open jar of peanut butter. Boom, birth of peanut butter cups.

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

  11. identicon
    haggie, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 9:20am

    No Subject Given

    Gtalk is irrelevant. Nobody is going to add one more IM platform. I use Trillian and I can chat with anyone on any platform.

    If Google had been smart, they would have just gotten out the checkbook and bought Cerulean Studios and let Trillian exist independently.

    Since they didn't do that, I would suggest that they focus on connecting IM and SMS. If GTalk could tell when the Google user was offline and direct IM's to the user's cell phone SMS and also handle the responses via SMS, I would be impressed.

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

  12. identicon
    Seth Brundle, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 10:24am

    Google Talk IS lame

    You dont have to apologize to anyone for dissing Google Talk, it simply isnt a competitive product.

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

  13. identicon
    Danno, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 4:51pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    That is an excellent idea, you should submit it. Especially since Google is already providing a web interface to send cell phone users SMS messages.

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

  14. identicon
    Gene Hoffman, Feb 7th, 2006 @ 9:44pm

    Gtalk/Jabber is going to change things

    This is moving too fast on the bleeding edge for average users to see it coming but Google is going to pull down the other IM networks.

    The jabber protocol is just getting solid. This is the modern version of SMTP. My operating company is deploying secure internal Jabber with secured server to server communications to Gtalk. Once Gtalk adds AIM, the question will be whether Yahoo and MSN can really hold out against the building strength of smtp style distributed IM that interoperates with AOL/ICQ/Gtalk. Anyone else who wants to run thier own IM server (and can give their home or enterprise users direct access to both MSN and Yahoo via local distributed transports - not transports run by Google) will create a powerful and server oriented environment that works a lot like email. Bang routing will die pretty quickly as it did in the early 1990s and soon we'll all have two IM accounts - one associated with our work email and one associated with our home email.

    Feel free to IM me on jabber from Gtalk or another jabber server to my email address - hoffmang at hoffmang dot com.


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

  15. identicon
    Tim Hazel, Feb 14th, 2007 @ 8:11am


    Can someone please answer a question?? Does Google talk work in nigeria??

    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
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.