Google Speaks Loudly with Google Talk
Over the past 12 hours Google has taken over the major search and tech news resources with the launch of its Google Talk IM client. Google Talk, a messaging tool with text instant messaging and VOIP, is quite a simple tool except for its integration with GMail (one must be a GMail user in order to currently use Google Talk). In the opinion of many, Google Talk is really not much more than any average IM client and is now offering less options than Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and Skype. Where are the Google text advertisements? Where are the emoticons? Where are the avatars?
On the outer layer of the messaging program, Google Talk is quite low tech. It is fast as heck and currently includes no bundles like Google Sidebar or even Google Web Accelerator. There is no advertising YET, no web clips, no page rank, and not even a web search box! There is however one ongoing advertisement and marketing message being served throughout Google Talk, the Google GMail system.
Usernames on Google Talk are associated with their email accounts. While chatting with other users, the Googler has the option of pressing an embedded button in the messaging window or the application dashboard to instantly Gmail the end user. An inbox link is the premier navigational link on the Google Talk application, even if the targeted friend is offline. When the friend is online, a telephone button is also served for making VOIP calls.
The integration of Google Talk throughout GMail and vice versa is a smart play for Google, who is hurting for registered users. That’s what Google Talk will bring to the Google network, registered users. According to a ComScore MediaMetrix survey, over 81 million Americans used Instant Messaging systems in July. Over 30 million used AIM, 23 million used MSN Messenger and 23 million used Yahoo Messenger. Additionally, Skype enjoys over 51 million international users.
If Google Talk takes off to reach heights anywhere near Google Search has, Google should achieve Google Talk usage of maybe 15-20 million users over the next year. 15-20 million users who are routinely plugged into Google and GMail, using Google apps for major communications, mail, and eventually desktop search, feed aggregation (via Sidebar), Google Local and of course web search.
No advertising on Google Talk yet? Well, perhaps Google will not need it. Registered users have been Google’s weak point up until the launch of Google Sidebar and Google Talk because there was no central base to connect all of Google’s login oriented applications. Critics of Google have always said that its popularity could crash as easily as it grew without a strong offering beyond search.
Until recently, the stickiest user base Google had was its Orkut social network, which took off like wildfire in Brazil but never really reached the capacity of LiveJournal or Friendster in the United States. Now, if one is not interested in having a desktop application which sorts the web’s information into an easy to monitor Google sideshow (in Sidebar), that person may be interested in using Google Talk to make computer to computer calls via Google or keep up with their friends and colleagues over Google messaging. In the span of one week, Google has introduced two strong offerings in Sidebar and Google Talk which have filled that Google void.
Like Sidebar, Google Talk is also offering plug-ins and add ons along with an open invitation to developers to put together apps compatible with Google Talk. From the Google Talk site “Google Talk, which enables users to instantly communicate with friends, family, and colleagues via voice calls and instant messaging, reflects our belief that communications should be accessible and useful as well. We’re committed to open communications standards, and want to offer Google Talk users and users of other service providers alike the flexibility to choose which clients, service providers, and platforms they use for their communication needs.”