Google has joined the world of Internet Messaging (IM) with Google talk.
Google search is the best search engine. Google mail is a whipping webmail service. Google talk is… minimal. A predictable subset of the IM population will convert on principle but the rest will chug on with MSN. At least until some compelling and obvious difference arises.
I still have a hotmail account. I use it solely to talk to friends who are on MSN, in fact, for whom, MSN is IM (just like webmail is hotmail). MSN has people using it because lots of people use it. Its success is not based on its merits alone. I would love to ditch MSN. Every time I reluctantly revisit hotmail it’s like visiting a past sleazy neighbourhood. I hate nudges, winks and smilies that flap around in the text area like a bug in its death throes. However, by filtering MSN through Trillian it becomes bearable, just another IM protocol.
What Google Talk looks like to me is a swept version of an internal messenger system, written by geeks for geeks. Clean but sparse. Very sparse. The big selling point, that it is based on the open standard of Jabber is likewise only of interest to the sort of user that cares about this sort of thing. I’m one of those users but I’m not typical. Google need to start blending in some of those features (in their own inimitable style) that are standard in other IM clients. At the moment they look like a poor cousin of Skype, who would find right about now to be a fine time to release an official video-conferencing extension.
That’s my take right now. I’m sixball if you want to connect. If you need a Gmail invite, let me know. You’re not still using hotmail are you? Hotmail was a viable option between 1997-99.. rant.. rant…