By August 24, 2005

Google Talk: Why Bother?

I saw on Ars today that Google has released their own instant messaging client called Google Talk. If you already have a gmail address, you have a Google Talk account.

The question on my mind is, “Why Bother?” Ken “Caesar” Fisher, the progenitor of Ars, had an interesting theory that turned out to be false: that Google Talk would save all correspondence back to your GMail storage account. That seems like a good idea, sort of. I don’t track my IM anyway, especially since I use IM to talk to people at work about work, but I could see how saving communications might be an appealing feature to some.

There is also talk of easy IP telephony, but I already have BroadVoice for that.

I’m going to hotlink Caesar’s mini review of Google Talk, and he shares some of my sentiments. Why go with Google Talk if you’re already a user of AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, or ICQ?

Let’s run down the short list of what Google Talk doesn’t have:

  • Encryption. This is a biggie, as most of my AIM conversations are encrypted.
  • Buddy icons. I know that sounds lame, but I like ’em.
  • File transfers. Most file transfers get killed at the firewall, but GT doesn’t even have the capability to do so.
  • Group chatting.
  • Other stuff, like emoticons, theme/skin support, and message history.

It also doesn’t have some of the bullshit that I wouldn’t want anyway, like a stock ticker, news summaries, games, etc. The memory footprint on the Windows-only client is around 11MB, instead of the 80MB that AIM requires. Then again, I have 2.5GB of onboard ram, so what do I care?

Since I haven’t been bothered enough to install GT, I won’t count this as a review. But unless you have some extra time to screw around with, I would recommend you pass on GT at this time.

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