Not The First, But The Best
Even before the latest version of Google Talk was released, it was already the best Instant Messaging service in the world. Here’s why.
- Ubiquity. Every Gmail web page has a chat client built-in. This rocks.
- Server-side archives. None of the other IM services include this, yet it is so handy. “What was that Youtube video that Fred sent me yesterday?”
- Open Standards. Under the hood, it’s Jabber. So I can use prettymuch any client I like, even iChat. No reverse-engineering the protocols, no turf wars.
- Firewall friendly. By this I mean it supports the universal firewall bypass protocol (ie HTTP). The other IM services also support this, but for me it only seems to work for the official clients, and not gaim-based clients for example.
- Multiple simultaneous logins. So obviously The Right Way To Do It.
- The default client is functional and minimal. It isn’t butt ugly, it doesn’t have ads, and its installer doesn’t pimp toolbars or other such crapware.
AIM, Yahoo and MSN collectively had a huge head start on Google Talk. So instead of adding the above features, why were they all wasting time building smilies, themes, “IMvironments”, icons and other nonsense? Beats me.
Screen sharing is a feature I really want to see in an IM service. Preferably, it should be based on an open standard like VNC. This would be a lifesaver for those of us who perform remote troubleshooting. As far as I know none of the current crop of IM services have this feature.
Based on their proven ability to add sensible features first, I’m betting Google Talk will be the first to support screen sharing. I suggested it, maybe you should too?