Google has launched its own IM and Voip service and it is free! Wait scratch that, it is not just free but without annoying ads! Like it’s Gmail service, google-talk is still in beta but if you already have Gmail then you can use that to sign-in on Google-Talk.

Google-talk is based on the Jabber framework so you can use other IM clients to chat with Google-talk users. Google even provides an inital list and their capability/availability matrix. Too bad you can only use the talk functionality when you use the official Google-Talk client.

The client is pretty slick (and mine is pretty barren at the moment). You can enable the “friend’s list” to include everybody in your contacts list but if you are like me then that list contains 400 entries and I dont want them to be listed in the talk client. I wish there is an option to limit that to Gmail contacts but according to Google help center the people you most frequently ‘communicate’ with will appear in the list. Even if this people dont have Google-Talk, you can still use these contacts for sending email. You just have to click the gmail envelope across their names. Now if only you can specify which browser it uses because I have mine defaulted to IE as required by the office.

The hype on this service is pretty high and since it is still in beta stage then expect some problems now. I suggest waiting till most of the furor settles down. And since it is still in beta, the functionality offered by Google Talk is rather sparse and Google would need to add more features that is at par or better than the ones offered by current IM providers before it could sway people to their fold. Knowing Google, this is already planned so all we could do is wait. And watch for those saying Google is evil since this is another ammunition in their argument bank. 😀

ciao!