Google scores another home run today — as they announce the beta version of “Google Talk,” their Instant Messaging client.
IMing is the ability to chat (via your keyboard, typing back and forth) with another user over the Internet. Not terribly unlike using a TTY/TDD. Most IM clients also include a voice option, where you can actually speak to them through a headset connected to your PC (usually through voice-over-IP technology).
Yahoo is still smarting over the beating they have taken from advertisers, and face a number of legal battles ahead. Their suspension of user-created chat rooms has caused a massive exodus from the platform.
So Google strikes while the iron is hot, offering the beta program to their existing beta mail clients (Gmail). It’s clever in two ways:
- Gmail users tend to be early adopters of technology, and more skilled than the average computer user. Google gets a more tech-savvy control group to test various features with before rolling it out to the masses.
- By offering the service free they are no doubt building in a differentiating feature that will be used to draw users from both MSN & Yahoo. I would nearly guarantee that before Google Talk is offered to the general public, there will be the ability to chat, and to create user rooms.
Chances are, I’m going to like Google Talk, too.