This week saw the launch of Google Talk, Google’s first attempt at producing an IM solution for consumers. From what I have heard it is based on Jabber which to me seems an interesting route to take while the other big three (MSN, AOL, Yahoo) and other collaboration technologies look to be moving towards using SIP.
It was indeed inevitable that Google would go down the instant messaging and voice chat router eventually as any good portal company has to cover services like web search, maps, email and instant messaging. One of the things they need to ensure they do well is to show users why they should switch to Google Talk from their current client, what is going to me the killer feature they have that no-one else has?, as yet I have not managed to figure out what that is.
Google Talk doesn’t appear to have things like tickers or emoticons and has a reliance on all of it users having GMail accounts. This could be a problem for them at a later date as all of the other clients allow your IM presence to match your main email address e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. Allowing people to have the same IM address and email address allows other to contact you easily and is more important than you would think at the start. Forcing people to have a GMail account sort of breaks the mould and might stop people from taking up their service.
All this however turns into something a lot more interesting when we ask the question “will Google Talk ever go into the enterprise”. The current thinking is that just like their search appliance devices, Google may look to run Google Talk on an appliance box in the enterprise space. Only time will tell if this ever comes about J.