Google launched “GoogleTalk” to compete in the instant message world with Yahoo’s IM, Microsoft’s IM, AOL’s IM, and everything else IM. Why?
Can you get GoogleTalk for Mac? Will it work on Mac? Need answers? We’ve got questions.
We have a few answers, too. Google launched their new GoogleTalk instant messaging service Tuesday. For now, GoogleTalk is Windows only, however, it appears to use the Jabber instant messaging system, so Mac OS X Tiger users can connect by using iChat AV.
Why? Why GoogleTalk? Does the world need still another instant messaging system? How many are there? Twenty-eleven, at least. There’s
AOL’s “AIM” instant messaging. There’s Microsoft’s instant messaging. There’s Yahoo, there’s Jabber, and so on. You get the idea. How many do we need?
While Google is a major hit for search engine users, it remains to be seen whether the Big G can crack into other markets that normally belong to the desktop.
For example, AOL boasts over 40-million instant messaging users. Yahoo has nearly 20-million users, and Microsoft’s Messenger service has just under 15-million.
What’s the point? Why should Google want to compete in such a mature area with competitors who have a large, installed base? Good questions. Oh, does GoogleTalk work with the Mac?
Yes. Sort of. As usual, Mac users have a few hoops to jump through, but they’re easy hoops.
First, let’s get you running on GoogleTalk as a Mac user. It’s easy and difficult at the same time. You’ll need a Google email account. It’s called “Gmail.” Click Here to see the details.
The bad news is that Google’s Gmail is not available for everyone. Yet. You have to be invited by someone who’s already using Gmail. Bummers.
Got a friend with a Windows machine? Download the GoogleTalk Windows application and set up an account that way. Then transfer the information to your Mac. Otherwise, check with friends to see who might have a Gmail account. Each Gmail user can recommend Gmail to up to 50 friends.
update – Click Here for additional instructions which may help you get the coveted Google “Gmail” account.
Assuming you have Tiger’s iChat AV, half of the second half is already done, because GoogleTalk is compatible with iChat AV. iChat works with “Jabber” accounts (yet another instant messaging system), too.
Open iChat AV in Tiger, set up a new account in preferences and select Jabber. Your Jabber ID is your Google Gmail address. For example, “firstname.lastname@example.org.” The Server Settings are “talk.google.com” on port 5223. Use your Gmail password.
That’s it. Your Mac now runs GoogleTalk using a Gmail account. It’ll do video (on the right Mac using iSight), audio chat, and regular chat.
Now, more answers? Why does Google want to launch a new messaging service to compete with AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, and others?
Because they can.
Arguably, Google gets more daily hits and visitors than anybody. That traffic in human flesh needs to remain Google’s. It’s also part of the desktop wars. Microsoft sort of owns the desktop but is in a weakened marketing position. Many people hate Microsoft.
Come to think of it, many people hate AOL, too. Yahoo? They’re always in second or third place anyway.
Think of Google as the New Kid On The Block™ with the white hat, white horse, coming to rescue us from the evils of Microsoft-dom. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
For now, Google has plans for a Mac OS X version of GoogleTalk (they’re not saying when), though it works fine with iChat AV. Apple’s wisdom in adding Jabber compatibility to OS X Tiger looks like a winner.
Where’s all this headed? Personally, I think it’s headed toward Voice Over IP, the latest fad in bringing telephones into your computers. We’ll see.