Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Google Talk

Note: This post was written before I realized I was trans and/or before I came out online. As such, I might refer to myself as a man or use my deadname. Please read my name policy to understand how you should refer to me.

So Google has this new instant messenging client, Google Talk. I downloaded it to try it out. Smartly, Google has used a standard protocol, XMPP, allowing clients such as Trillian Pro and GAIM to connect to it. This means I can supposedly use Google Talk even in Ubuntu.

How does it stack up to other IM clients? Overall I say it loses, simply because it lacks so many features other clients have. For example, no emoticons. The overall interface is smooth and rough at the same time: it looks good, but handles roughly. However, it is new. I'll give it time to improve and gain features, like Gmail, because it looks good right now and so far Google hasn't let me down.

Google Talk at least allows a degree of text formatting (using bold and italic) and promises rich text formatting in the future, unlike MSN Messenger. And its call feature (audio conversation over a microphone) is superior to MSN: faster to connect by far, and no 'network issues' whatsoever. Take that, MSN.

The way it groups conversations into one stacked window reminds me slightly of GAIM but handles better than GAIM. It took a few minutes to get used to it, but at least it doesn't clutter up my taskbar, so I'm all for it. Kudos to Google on that one.

Overall it needs work, but that's what the "beta" stamp is for, I don't expect it to beat MSN, AIM, and YIM in one release. So far it looks very promising. If you have a Gmail account, try it. If you don't have a Gmail account, where have you been the past year?