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All that Googles isn?t gold!

Googling was never my hobby but Google has the knack on making headlines and love it or hate it but Google seems to have a dominant presence, writes Puneet Mehrotra.
PTI | By CYBERDUDE | Puneet Mehrotra
UPDATED ON SEP 29, 2005 07:13 PM IST

I guess this is my 25th column on Google.  Googling was never my hobby but Google has the knack on making headlines and love it or hate it but Google seems to have a dominant presence on the World Wide Web. This week Google is at it again. This time with an application not so innovative or special, Google Talk. Yet it's from Google, so inevitably it gets written about.

Here a Google There a Google

Everybody has it. The users love it. The companies love to flaunt it as a symbol of their dominance. Microsoft has a MSN messenger, AOL has its own IM too. Yahoo too has a messenger.  Mac users have their iChat service. Now Google has joined the fray. Last week, it launched Google Talk, an instant messaging program linked to its Gmail web email service.

The war of the titans seems to be getting interesting each week.  Microsoft versus Yahoo versus Google battle seems to be going on and on with new twists and turns every week. Every week now we are seeing new applications from the giants. The last two weeks undoubtedly belonged to Google. Just last week Google had launched Google Desktop 2, an application that enhances the desktop search experience. If desktop dominance was what Google had in mind at last week, this week it's instant messaging (IM) and VoIP (voice over IP) service. Is Google attempting to take over everything on the Internet?

Google Talk

"They say talk is cheap. Google thinks it should be free. Google Talk enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free-anytime, anywhere in the world."  Says the page. It goes on to add That Google Talk offers

Choice: Get in touch over email, IM or a call

Quality: Talk through your computer but hear your friends as if they were in the same room

Convenience: Your Gmail contacts are pre-loaded into Google Talk

Nothing Special to Google about

Most of the recent launches of Google tools and applications are fantastic and have received great reviews too. If last weeks launch of Google Desktop 2 was seen as a wonderful intelligent web assistant, the previous applications too have received lots of kudos.  Probably in its battle for dominance Google seems to have lost something somewhere. And in all probability it seems innovativeness has taken a backseat in Google. Why else would Google launch an application which has nothing special to be written about? Still in its beta stages, Google talk is based on open source Jabber protocol to provide its VoIP and IM service. One needs a Gmail account to be able to use this service and the only way to get a Gmail account is to be invited by a current Gmail user.   The interface is very simple and you can make either text or voice conversations. There are no smiles, avatars or file-transfers. But there is an option for an address book.  The voice quality is fine.

MSN, AOL and Yahoo have much more to offer.  If internet telephony is what interests Google, didn't it bother having a look at Skype?

Is Google really proud of its new launch? Or is the launch of Google Talk just a way to keep competitors and reviewers busy? If it's the latter its fine but if it's the former then Google engineers better get their thinking caps on.  Google Talk couldn't have been made by the same team that made Gmail or the other super applications Google launched in the last few months. Better luck next time. All that Googles isn't gold!

Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist atwww.Cyberzest.comand editswww.MidnightEdition.comyou can email him

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