August 23, 2005

Speculations on Google Talk

The web has been abuzz with rumours of Google releasing their own Instant Messaging service, which they are calling Google Talk. Only mere days after they released Google Desktop 2, which puts a multitude of Google and web services on your desktop without need for a browser, Google seems poised to release a competitor for the IM services of MSN, Yahoo, AOL, etc. It appears as if the service is already live, though the Google client software is not yet available.

There are probably already too many IM services as it is, but history has shown that Google always goes several steps beyond what anyone thought was possible. Much of the innovation on the web today can be attributed directly to Google. With that being said, these are the types of services I expect Google to eventually include in their IM client if they do in fact release one.

  • VoIP. It's pretty certain that this is part of their plan, as Yahoo has launched a competing service, and I think MSN is working on it.

  • Integration with Google Desktop 2. I imagine that your contact list will be neatly stored as a module for Google Desktop 2, leaving no need for another program running as the client.

  • Integration with GMail, which will double as a voicemail box and the central contact list (all available from Google Desktop 2). Like Skype, I expect users to be able to have actual phone numbers that people can call and leave voice messages. Incidentally, Yahoo introduced a very similar service 5 years ago by the name of Yahoo By Phone, which provided users with a 10-digit extension that can be reached at by a toll-free Yahoo number. Yahoo By Phone used to also be able to read your mail out for you, so you could literally check your e-mail from any payphone.

  • Integration with Google Local, Google Maps, and Google Earth. I expect that some day, I can click on a location on Google Maps and have it automatically place a call to that location. You can almost do this already with the Vonage "Click2Call" service, which provides a couple of web services that make it extremely easy to automatically dial any number. Unfortunately, the service is not available to Vonage Canada customers like me just yet.

  • Voice-based ads. There is a service in Ottawa where you can pick up a payphone, call a toll-free number, listen to a short ad, and then make a local call. It saves you the quarter if you're not in a hurry and don't mind listening to a couple of short ads. I expect Google to employ a similar revenue scheme for their service, perhaps delivered when checking your voicemail.

  • Integration with Blogger and AudioBlogger, which will allow a person to quickly publish a voice or text conversation to their blog or podcast. They can also receive instant messages whenever a comment is posted on their blog, which they could then reply to immediately through the Google Talk interface.

  • this is an audio post - click to play

    So let's see how much of this actually happens. And remember, you heard it here first!


    1. Heard it here first? I read the details here first, but if the message is "Google is taking over the universe", then I already knew that. :)

    2. Somehow the Calvin and Hobbes comic at the bottom always seems to relate with your blog posting.

      I made a cool upload script which uploads a file to the server as soon as you select it from the 'Browse...' button. No need to click submit. The file starts uploading immediately, without going to a new page, so you can continue filling out the form while the upload is taking place.

      JavaScript is powerful.

    3. You can download the Google's IM from: