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Archive for January, 2006

Get Google Talk

I said for a long time, as recently as yesterday, that I was going to leave my blog as is. One post is good enough for me. Anyway, I’m much more concerned about all my pictures. Yet, I found something extraordinary today (although it could have been around for a while) that I felt a need to share. Google Talk has opened their servers and now anyone who has a Google Talk account or uses Jabber instant messaging can talk to one another. If you don’t already know, this is very, very cool.

“Why is it cool,” you might ask? Well, let me tell you. Back in the old days there were many different instant messaging services AOL/AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, etc. They each had their own advantages and disadvantages. The most frustrating problem, however, was that if your friend had AOL Instant Messenger and you had Yahoo! Messenger, you couldn’t talk to one another. One of you had to switch, or at least get two accounts and run two different applications (one for AIM and one for Yahoo!). Programs like Trillian (which I use) help a little by merging all your different accounts into one program, but it can still be a pain. If you don’t know, trust me on this one.

Now for the cool part. Not too long ago, Google introduced a new service called Google Talk. If you’re like me, no matter how much you like Google, you are probably thinking either “this blog post isn’t as good as the first one” or “oh no, not another IM service/client/account.” If you were thinking the second, you’re both right and wrong. It’s true that Google Talk can’t communicate with the other major IM clients/services (yet), but it does something no other mainstream IM service does. It uses open standards. Specifically the XMPP standard used by Jabber enthusiasts. And now, the big news that inspired this post Google Talk has opened their servers and allowed open federation by any other service supporting XMPP.

This is huge, and it is a step in the right direction for IM and for the internet[worked] community as a whole, across the globe. This could be a first step in eliminating the ridiculousness of every service trying to demark their territory so they can maintain control. How many IM screen names should I have to have? Well, I’ll tell you what, now I only have 1. Get Google Talk or your favorite Jabber/XMPP service and you can be down to 1 too.

Google Talk has already federated with many IM providers including Earthlink, Gizmo Project, Tiscali, Netease, Chikka, MediaRing. And of course it should work with all industry-standard Jabber servers. That’s how my address works. If you have any questions, let me know!

Add comment Computer Geek 01/19/2006 at 17:42 ET