Google IM is Here

Apparently the rumors are true — Google has indeed launched an instant message service based on the open source Jabber protocol.

All I can say is — it’s about time someone did! Having the IM world broken up into incompatible networks makes no sense — an open protocol like Jabber will be much better for end users, since it means they can use any IM program they want that speaks Jabber. For example, the instructions in the post above show how to connect to Google’s service via Apple’s iChat, and a commenter then shows how to connect via the popular Windows client Trillian.

Now all that remains is to see how the vendors of proprietary, walled-garden IM services — AOL, Yahoo, and MSN — respond…

UPDATE: And now it’s really “for real” — here’s the official Google Talk IM software for you to download. Windows 2000/XP only, though as noted above you can connect on other platforms through a range of clients. (Though I have yet to get gaim to connect successfully… grrr.)

It’s worth noting, though, that as of today third party clients don’t get the full Google Talk service — take a look at this comparison chart to see what I mean: the only client listed that can do user-to-user voice messaging (as opposed to standard IM) is the official Google Talk client. They promise to add support for SIP, which would let third-party clients do voice chat, “in a future release“, though.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Finally figured out how to connect with gaim — instructions here.

ONE MORE FREAKING UPDATE: OK, now let’s get fancy.

Google Talk is a Jabber-based service. And I already have a Jabber account at — which is easier for people to remember than some random Gmail address, since it’s also my primary email, and I don’t use Gmail anyway so who wants the bother of Yet Another Address to remember?

But the question is, can Google Talk users connect with Jabber users on any server? Or do you have to be connected to Google’s Jabber server?

So let’s do a test. If you’re on Google Talk, disregard the address I gave originally and add me to your buddy list at, then ping me. Let’s see how smoothly this “open standards” stuff works 🙂

UPDATE (Feb. 2, 2006): If you tried this experiment back when I first posted this, you would have discovered that it didn’t work — Google had not connected GTalk to the public Jabber network. However, they now have done this so you should be able to IM any Jabber user with GTalk.