Google Talk Client versus Gmail Chat Web Interface

Guest post by Abhishek Mandloi,

It has been three years since Google Talk beta was released. And even now it still in beta, as usual! If you are wondering what Google Talk team was doing all this time, check out Google Talk Labs Edition. The Lab Edition of Google Talk has features like emoticons and group chat, and provides desktop notifications from Gmail, Google Calendar and Orkut.

Now back to my topic on Google Talk versus Gmail Chat. If I am not wrong, you might be using Gmail or Google Apps for domain as your primary personal email service. And if I am right again, then you might be using Google Talk as your instant messaging client as well. Personally, I consider Gmail as the most beautiful product from Google. Gmail is spacious (7GB and growing), innovative (archive, labels, filters etc) and search operators give you an edge over others email products.

Google Talk, Google’s approach to instant communications, also provides voice messaging. Google Talk is another product from Google that most gmailers use often. You would already know that Google Talk is integrated with Gmail too. Once logged on to Gmail, you can use the Gmail chat feature which provides instant messaging, buddy status notification and chat logging right inside your Gmail application.

If you are an active Gmail user and have thought of uninstalling Google talk, then think again! Here are some pros and cons for Google talk:

Why to use Google talk :

  • Of course, you can talk with your friends. Google Talk provides free PC-to-PC voice calls.
  • If your friend isn’t online then you can send him a voice mail. No VOIP service in Gmail.
  • Inbuilt mail notification. Also informs about new scraps from orkut. No need to download a tool as in case for Gmail.
  • Transfer unlimited files to your online friends. In Gmail case, you will need to attach in an email.
  • Gives a option of themes to customize your chat sessions compare to plain clean interface in Gmail embedded chat.
  • With each line of message box, you view profile picture of your friend. I am eager to get this feature on Gmail as it helps in socializing.
  • No sponsors link from Google.

Why not to use Google talk :

  • You need to download and run as an extra application, Google Talk is very thin though.
  • No provision for hiding yourself. However Gmail chat users can hide themselves by changing there status to invisible. See Sree’s wishlist here.
  • No smileys other then few basics are present. However Gmail chat provides comprehensive smiley list, and here.
  • Build-in Gmail chat has ‘Reply by chat’ option i.e if the person who send you mail is online you can contact with him immediately.
  • Chatting is not a formal and authentic way. Its better to write an email.
  • Group chat service is only available in Gmail embedded chat.

Verdict: If you have lots of friends, whom you contact regularly and if skype or jajah doesn’t fascinates you, Google talk is worth its salt. However you always have option to choose Google talk version based on your requirements. There are four versions of Google talk:

  1. The original Google talk application
  2. Google talk chatback badge / gadget for web applications
  3. Gmail integrated Google talk
  4. Google talk labs edition (With additional features but in beta)

Actually Google talk uses the Jabber protocol, that means their are numerous flavours of Google talk. However Google talk is only available for windows users, that might be a reason for integrating talk in Gmail so that Mac users could easily enjoy Google talk services. Interestingly, Google talk is available for iPhone, an apple inc product which also owns Macintosh.

This is a guest post by Abhishek Mandloi. He blogs at about tricks for Google, Orkut, Gmail, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger. If you have a tip to share, write a guest article here.

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