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Boring update to GTalk ships

Google have launched an upgrade to GTalk – offering pretty bog-standard ancillary IM features:

  • File-sharing
  • Voicemail
  • Music status


I like using GTalk because it’s the only mainstream IM gateway based on the open-source and interoperable Jabber/XMPP format.  It’s the ying to the yang of my use of Skype (which is proprietary and closed).

Sure, that’s a bit of a geeky reason to use it, but I think the lack of interoperability between IM providers is laughable when all of the big names that run them are generally trying to be (/appear to be) ‘open’ everywhere else.

Supporting Google for choosing an open format when they created their own system is important to me.

However these GTalk extensions are presumably extensions outside the Jabber/XMPP standard (hmm maybe not file transfer – will investigate).  The existing ‘voice’ services are, as the Jabber/XMPP standard doesn’t support VoIP.

The point is, I would have liked to have seen Google help to create extensions to the Jabber/XMPP standard to support these new functions, rather than laying proprietary functionality over the otherwise open spec.

I use Gaim for Windows (and Gaim on Linux on my Ubuntu box) which supports Jabber/XMPP but obviously not these proprietary Google extensions – and as such this functionality will probably not be present anyway.

UPDATE: It’s not clear whether either the VoIP functionality or these new functions in today’s release are part of a future Jabber/XMPP spec. I’m going to investigate and report back to set the record straight. 🙂

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  1. I’m pretty sure the voip extensions are part of proposals google has sent to jabber, but I’m not positive. I know there are open proposals Google has sent to be put into the jabber standard, but not sure on which ones they are.

  2. I think they open-sourced the stuff around the VoIP, I even faintly remember seeing a Psi-based jabber client using that already.

  3. Proposal, not protocol of course. 😉

  4. Are there any plans to extend the Jabber protocol to enable three-way (or more) conversations? This is the crucial feature that’s missing I reckon…

  5. Alex Alex

    Google Jabber extension for VOIP is Jingle, and an implementation libjingle has been released under a BSD license. I don’t know of a project that supports it well in a stable release, though it’s working in the Psi development version.

  6. Randy Randy

    Google released the source (minus codecs) for the audio stuff here:

    Psi, Gaim and many others are integrating this into their clients.

    If the file transfer follows their pattern for voice, they will be releasing the info soon including libraries.

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