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Google Talk

Google Talk

Designers rarely get to work on their dream projects. When I was researching instant messaging in grad school, the prospect of designing a new instant messaging product was fanciful at best. When I came to Google, the odds improved a bit. When I became the designer on Google Talk, it still didn’t quite seem real until we launched today.

Google Talk is far from perfect, but it’s a start, and we chose to start with simplicity. Big plans are in the works, but for now I’m enjoying it for what it is. Hope you do too.

More details on the product from Joe Beda and David Bau, two of the many rockstar engineers on this project. If you use a Mac (yes, we’re working on it), definitely try it out on Adium or iChat for now.

24 responses to “Google Talk”

  1. Brett Lider

    Nice job, Chad.

  2. Step

    Congrats – nice product. I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with it. Especially the federation stuff!
    I’m curious how this relates with Hello, if at all? Obviously Hello wouldn’t work as the overall Google IM Client, but will there be interaction b/w the 2 in the future? Will GTalk be able to “morph” back and forth b/w a version of Hello and it’s current form, depending on whether user is sending pictures? Just curious – seems strange having 2 IM clients, even though Hello is a pretty specialized client.

  3. Chad

    Hey Step, glad you like the product. I can’t tell you what our future plans are for Google Talk or Hello other than what’s been mentioned in the press over the last couple days – sorry.

  4. Shital Shah

    One of the coolest thing you probably can implement with an IM service would be an ability to leave message for an user who is offline. When this functionality is exposed through API, an application can send serialized objects as messages (for instance, database/file update messages) to entire group of users (to have their database/files stay synchronized with each other).

    Possibilities are endless because it not only enables users but it also enables applications to talk with each other.

    BTW, I too fencied about IM technologies. I’ve a firm belief that when IM is designed right, it would make emails are obsolete :).

  5. Tiennou

    Hi Chad,
    I am a big Jabber Fan and I wanted to thank you and Google for your great work. I wrote an open letter to the Google Talk Team about your federation policy. Maybe you could have a look at it and tell me what you think of it :

    I think I am going to get a Gmail account…

  6. Thomas

    Hi Chad,

    Very clean interface and easy to use product. I hope you can keep these characteristics while introducing more features.

    Well done!


  7. appel

    Just had to say that I absolutely love the clean and simple interface. I hope it will stay like this even if more features are added. But please don’t go bloat crazy like icq, msn and others.

    So now I’m up to five IM clients active in my systray. When will the madness end? :D

  8. Netanel Jacobsson

    Way to go! I’m a former ICQ guy – and can only give you a warm applause – Google Talk is very simple, clean and smooth. I think ICQ’s days are over now..and they others should definately feel uncomfortable with the launch of G-Talk. I am sure that you will beef it up in the future with more integrated features like conferencing etc. BTW, why are you not doing IM as a p2p? All the best, Net http://www.maxthon.com

  9. Step


    That’s not a surprise. :) Consider that my input, then. It’d be cool to just have GTalk loaded, but then if someone wants to “Hello” me with some pictures (or vice-versa), maybe I drag and drop a picture into GTalk, or just click a button from Picasa, and GTalk opens a Hello-type side-panel. Maybe document sharing could even work the same way, with me being able to highlight or circle or whatever on the document, and the other user following along! Ok, now I’m dreaming. :-D Thanks for the response, I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

  10. Nugget

    Tinnou’s open letter really hits the issue square. Reading the Google developer.html page about Google Talk really paints a bleak picture for Google’s plans for Jabber server peering. I really hope that you guys don’t just intend to peer with a few of the bigger public Jabber networks and leave the majority of us out in the cold with no way to interoperate with Google Talk.

    I’ve also written up my thoughts on the issue, and feedback is welcomed: http://www.livejournal.com/users/nugget/97081.html

  11. Danno

    I heart the gTalk UI. It snap-tos in all the right places, it glows when I want it to glow, it morphs when morphing would be awesome.

    In fact, the only problem I have with the UI right now is how the logo eats a lot of vertical space (You could have super squished gTalk with the logo gone. I know it’s for branding and all, but I dunno, maybe an option burried deeply somewhere for only the power users for whom Google is already imprinted directly onto the optical nerve to find?)

  12. Nauman

    Very nice work with the GUI design of Talk! KISS really works. Especially when google guys are doing the KISSing :)

    Just downloaded Talk a while back and I just love the design. The login screen looks a lil bland but I guess you guys must be working on it.

    Good luck and a nice job done once again.

  13. Chad

    Regarding the Jabber stuff, your best bet is to email federation@google.com, point them to your open letter. I know they’ll read it.

  14. Dan Hill

    Nice one Chad :)

  15. Erica Baker

    Thanks for the cleaness of Google Talk, it really was much needed. I was wondering how you feel about people modifying your design a bit? For example, I colored my Google Talk client pink to match my desktop theme and I know there are other colors out there.

  16. Chad

    Hi Erica. Customization is definitely an important part of the application, and we’ll get to it. That said, I’m impressed you already figured out how to make Google Talk pink.

  17. Alex

    Hey Chad, love GTalk. When might there be a Mac version? Been using it with Virtual PC 7 running Windows XP Pro. I created a Mac OS X Skin for version http://www.bigblueball.com/forums/t32304-mac-os-x-skin-for-googletalk-that-ive-been-working-on.html

  18. Alex

    Hey Chad, love GTalk. When might there be a Mac version? Been using it with Virtual PC 7 running Windows XP Pro. I created a Mac OS X Skin for version http://www.bigblueball.com/forums/t32304-mac-os-x-skin-for-googletalk-that-ive-been-working-on.html

  19. Chad

    Hey Alex. Can’t commit to any schedule for the Mac client, but trust that I’d like it sooner rather than later – Google Talk was designed mostly on the Mac.

  20. Alex

    Really? I never knew that it was mostly designed on a Mac. :) I personally like GTalk more than iChat. Thanks for the info

  21. Norbert

    One year later and still no Mac version. What happened?

  22. Norbert

    I have some problems with iChat (some of my friends don’t show up in the list) and it doesn’t really feel as “googley” as the official version. But I just installed Adium and it looks GREAT! Everything works fine and the customization is just super. Thanks!

  23. Brad

    Mac Client still on the way? I’m dying to get rid of my PC and just stick with my Mac. Only reason I still have a PC is to use GTalk to talk to my friends.