Google Talk

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Google Talk
File:Google talk.gif
Screenshot of Google Talk
Developer(s) Google Inc.
Stable release  (January 5, 2007) [+/−]
Preview release Google Talk, Labs Edition [+/−]
Operating system Windows 2000,
Windows XP,
Windows Server 2003,
Windows Vista,
Windows 7
Available in English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Chinese, Spanish
Type VoIP/Instant messaging client
License Proprietary
Website Google Talk Labs Edition Google Talk gadget

Google Talk (GTalk) is a free Windows and web-based application for instant messaging and voice over internet protocol (VOIP), offered by Google Inc. The first beta version of the program was released on August 24, 2005.

Instant messaging between the Google Talk servers and its clients uses an open protocol, XMPP, allowing users of other XMPP/Jabber clients to communicate with Google Talk users. VoIP in Google Talk uses an older version of what would later become the Jingle protocol. The technology used within the Google server network however is not publicly known.

The Google Talk client is only available for Microsoft Windows (2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista and Windows 7). Mobile clients are also available for the Palm Pre, BlackBerry, iPhone and Android-based devices. With the release of the Google Talk gadget, users of all platforms supported by Adobe Flash Player can also use Google Talk.[1] Many other XMPP clients are compatible with Google Talk, and support a variety of other platforms.




Google has announced that a major goal of the Google Talk service is interoperability. Google Talk uses XMPP to provide real-time extensible messaging and presence events, including offline messaging and voice mailing. On January 17, 2006, Google enabled server-to-server communications, federating itself with any XMPP server that supports the dialback protocol.[2]

Product integration

On February 7, 2006, Gmail received chat functionality[3], using Ajax for server–browser communication, and was integrated with Google Talk. Users can send instant messages to other Gmail users. As it works within a browser, Google Talk does not need to be downloaded to send instant messages to Gmail users.

Conversation logs are automatically saved to a Chats area in the user's Gmail account. This allows users to search their chat logs and have them centrally stored in their Gmail accounts. It does not, however, appear possible to download chat logs that are not attached to an e-mail conversation. [4][5]

Since November 8, 2006, Google has also integrated Google Talk with Orkut. This enables Google Talk users to interact with registered Orkut users, by sending and receiving 'scraps' within Orkut.

It is also possible to display the song currently playing on the computer. This music data is collected, if the user agrees to this, and displayed on the Google Music Trends page.

Also, as of November 11, 2008, it is possible to voice and video chat between Gmail users and Google Talk users - on some systems, not all major OSs are supported[6]. The Gmail user requires a plugin download and installation, but is otherwise seamlessly integrated into the Gmail interface. As of September 2009, the plugin is only available for Windows (XP and Vista) and Mac OS X (only on Intel-based Macs)[7].


The connection between the Google Talk client and the Google Talk server is encrypted, except when using the international version of the client, Gmail's chat over HTTP, a federated network that doesn't support encryption, or when using a proxy like IMLogic.[8][9] Thus messages are not necessarily encrypted end-to-end, although it is possible to have end-to-end encryption over the GTalk network using OTR (off-the-record) chat when all participants connect over HTTPS.[8] Some XMPP clients also natively support encryption with Google Talk's servers.

Voicemail and file-sharing

On July 28, 2006, Google added voicemail and file sending capabilities to the Google Talk client. Voicemail messages can be 10 minutes long, and they're delivered to the contact's mailbox as an attached MP3 file (11 kHz mono 24kbit/s). Recipients who use Gmail are offered better integration. Gmail recognizes that it is a voicemail message, and users can choose to stream the file using the integrated MP3-playing applet, or to download the MP3 file.

Offline messaging

On October 31, 2006, Google introduced offline messaging to Google Talk. This allows users to send messages to their contacts, even if they are not signed in. They will receive the messages when they next go online even if the user who has sent it is offline.

Mobile device compatibility

On June 30, 2006, Nokia released new software for their Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, that included Google Talk as one of the compatible VoIP clients, because of the XMPP-based software.[10] Another Google Talk-compatible device is Sony's mylo, released on September 15, 2006. A Google Talk client is also available for BlackBerry devices from the Blackberry site.[11] Google Talk support is also integrated in Google Android devices.

However, given that Google Talk provides XMPP protocol, most mobile phones for which a suitable XMPP client exists[12] could also offer Google Talk service, at least theoretically (depending on the handset, the user may encounter security warnings because of unsigned J2ME midlets or limits put in place by the mobile service provider). Mobile clients specially designed for Google Talk exist as well.[13]

Most phones support the IMPS protocol, and there are hybrid XMPP/IMPS networks (through XMPP transports, or specially designed hybrid servers),[14] which can also contact GoogleTalk users. The Google Talk service itself is unusable from IMPS (that means, you cannot log with your Gmail account, but you can talk with your Gmail friends with your IMPS account from your mobile phone).[clarification needed]


The idea of an XMPP-based Google IM service was proposed by Eoban Binder on the website on August 23, 2004.[15]

Exactly one year later, after the rumor of a Google-branded "communications tool" service had been reported by the New York Times[16] and detailed by the Los Angeles Times on August 22, 2005, the subdomain was found to have an active XMPP server.[17] Two methods of logging into the server were discovered soon after and the ensuing response by eager bloggers revealed to numerous others how to login before the official release by Google.

On the evening of August 23, many logged-in users using port 5222 to connect were disconnected and unable to log back in. Users using port 5223 to connect were still able to log in, and at 04:12:52 UTC those users received a broadcast instant message from, an apparently official username used by Google to communicate with their user base, that stated "The broken link has been fixed. Thanks for being our first users!" Port 5222-connectivity was found to have been re-enabled. On August 24, Google Talk was officially launched.

On December 15, 2005, Google released libjingle, a C++ library to implement Jingle, "a set of extensions to the IETF's Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) for use in voice over IP (VoIP), video, and other peer-to-peer multimedia sessions."[18] Libjingle is a library of the code that Google uses for peer-to-peer communication, and was made available under a BSD license.[19]

On February 7, 2006, Gmail added the ability to chat with a built-in XMPP client.

On March 14, 2007, Google released the Google Talk Gadget, an Adobe Flash-based Talk module that can be added to iGoogle (formally the Google Personalized Homepage) or embedded in any web page, thus, allowing one to chat from any operating system which is supported by Adobe Flash Player as long as Adobe Flash Player is installed.[20]

On November 26, 2007, Google Talk released Group Chat capabilities. Prior to this, users could only chat with one person per window. Group chat allows many users to chat with each other in an environment similar to IRC.

On December 6, 2007, Google upgraded its Gmail integrated chat to include AOL Instant Messenger chat capability. This allows Gmail users to sign into the AIM chat service and communicate with any AIM user while still being signed on to the Google Talk service. The Google Talk gadget and client have not been upgraded to enable this feature yet, and no announcement has been made as to when it will be made available.

On February 25, 2008, Google added a feature called chatback, which allows a Google Talk account owner to chat with people who don't have one. The account owner first has to create a badge, which can be included in webpages. This badge shows the current availability of the owner. Clicking on the badge results a chat request notification to the owner who can respond by clicking on the specified URL. During the conversation both parties have to use the Google Talk Gadget and both parties remain anonymous to each other, even the Google Account name of the owner is not revealed to the other peer.

On November 11, 2008, video chat feature was launched: it became possible to chat using video from within Gmail, between Google Talk users.[6]

On July 7, 2009, Google Talk was announced out of beta along with Gmail, Google Docs and Google Apps.

Labs edition

Google has released a new version of Google Talk called "Google Talk, Labs edition." It still currently lacks many features of Google Talk's 'stable' releases. The features it lacks include File Sharing and Voice Chat. It features rounded alerts for new email. It can have multiple tabs with group chat, private chat and the regular screen open at once. It is available for free download here: Flash Player will be required to install, and upon first launch, a new flash-plugin will need to be downloaded. This edition is not meant for general use, hence the reason why it is a labs edition. Labs edition also includes Google Update service.

Issues with Windows 7

Several users of both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 have reported various issues with Google Talk which commonly result in freezing or crashing of the software or the operating system itself. While the compatibility mode does not create a difference, the Google Labs version of Google Talk appears to work fine with some, but not all, of the affected users. It has also been noted that incorrect username and password combinations do not result in crashing or freezing. The browser plugins for voice and video chat are also reported to cause problems when used in Windows 7. [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27]

Future releases

Google reports that they are working on adding new features such as supporting SIP in a future release, which would broaden the userbase for the program.[28]
A screenshot showing the Google Talk, Labs Edition preview release

Additionally as part of Google's and eBay's Multi-Year Agreement on August 28, 2006, it was announced that the companies will look into making Google Talk users able to communicate with Skype: "The companies will also explore interoperability between Skype and Google Talk via open standards to enable text chat and online presence."[29]

A screen shot was posted on May 18, 2007 as part of the Google Apps presentation, showing some phone integration in Google Talk[30]. A Google engineer confirmed they have been using it internally for some time on March 2, 2008[31].

Clues from one of the first Google Chrome December 2008 revisions suggests that a new Talk client is in the works[32].

See also


  1. "Google Talk Gadget: What are the system requirements?". Google Talk Help. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  2. Burd, Gary (2006). "XMPP Federation". Google Talkabout. Retrieved April 3 2006. 
  3. "Screen Shots of Gmail Chat". 
  4. "Download gtalk chat logs with imap. - POP and IMAP". Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  5. "Chats in IMAP (Outlook 2007) - POP and IMAP". Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "About voice and video chat". Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  7. "Technical requirements". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Can My GTalk Discussion Be Tracked?". (Web link). Retrieved on 2007-02-11.
  9. Google Talk Center at BigBlueBall
  10. Nokia Europe - Software upgrade - Nokia 770 - Product support - Get support and software
  11. BlackBerry
  12. XMPP Clients
  14. Now IMP Server: Home
  15. Binder, Eoban (2004). "How Google Could De-Throne AIM". AppleXnet. Retrieved January 2 2007. 
  16. Markoff, John (2005). "Where Does Google Plan to Spend $4 Billion?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1 2006. 
  17. admin (2005). "Google IM on XMPP for real?". Tom Servo's Blogogogogog. Retrieved February 1 2006. 
  18. "Jabber Software Foundation Publishes Open VoIP and Multimedia Protocols". XMPP Standards Foundation. 2005. Retrieved February 1 2006. 
  19. Beda, Joe (2005). "libjingle". Retrieved February 1 2006. 
  20. Google Talkabout: Google Talk Gadget
  28. "Google Talk and Open Communications — 4. Do you plan to support other real-time communication protocols?". Retrieved July 8 2006. 
  29. "Google and eBay Sign Multi-Year Agreement to Connect Users, Merchants, and Advertisers Around the Globe". Google Press Center. Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  30. "Phone Calls in Google Talk". Google Operating System- Unofficial news and tips about Google. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  31. "Google Talk, Not Dead After All". Google Operating System- Unofficial news and tips about Google. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  32. "Chromium Revision 6376 notes". The Chromium Authors. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 

External links

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