Google Talk

by redshift

I caught this one before it was even released! Tomorrow (supposedly) Google is releasing a new service, Google Talk, which is basically a public Jabber server for anyone with a Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, you have no excuse, as I was offering them to anyone a few months back.

I’m excited about this for several reasons. First, the Jabber protocol is much better than AIM, MSN, ICQ, etc. AIM is by far the most popular in my circle, which is understandable but unfortunate. All three of these legacy protocols come from terrible roots, whereas Jabber was designed to be a light, interoperable, secure protocol. It hasn’t become popular yet because there hasn’t been a good, popular server with which everyone could easily get access.

Second, Google can do no wrong. I know, I know, with the rate they’re growing today they’ll be a behemoth down the line, but I’ve never seen them have a really bad idea. It’s like Bell Labs in the golden days. They managed to keep this one secret, too, which is surprising. I’m hoping it’ll become as popular as Gmail. Also, I must note, Gmail was incredibly good in its own right for UI quality. No webmail service (or truthfully, any web service at all) had come close to its polished UI. While talk.google is just a server, I believe, I think the same forethought will show through.

Third, if it becomes a standard chat server, there’s a chance that we can eliminate the huge mess of protocols we’re forced to live with today. It’s a pain having to use 5-7 accounts in your instant messaging program. One good account would be wonderful.

Did I neglect to mention that the server is already running? So, here’s how to set it up:

  • screen name: your Google/Gmail account name (skip the @gmail.com)
  • password: obvious
  • server: gmail.com
  • tls: of course
  • port: 5222
  • connect server: talk.google.com

Comment here if you set it up. I’m currently having trouble seeing buddies online, but I’m not expecting everything to be perfect until they officially release the service.

[update] Google Talk was indeed released this morning, and with a surprise. It’ s not just an IM service, it’s a VoIP client too (for Windows users). This only works with their official client. Another nice surprise was that they have a chart of alternative clients you can use to connect to their network. How very nice of them! Others should start taking notes, methinks.

[update] Thanks to Manast for this update. You should now use the following settings in Pidgin, and possibly other clients:

  • screen name: your Google/Gmail account name (skip the @gmail.com)
  • server: gmail.com
  • Allow plaintext auth over unencrypted streams: unchecked
  • connect port: 443
  • connect server: talk.google.com
  • Force old (port 5223) SSL: checked