Google Talk

Here’s another quick Google tip for you! Are you an instant messenger (IM) addict? Or maybe, if you’re away from home, it’s the cheapest way for you to stay in touch with your friends and family? But, you hate how instant messengers are always introducing new features that you don’t even need! You may like using a messenger, but you sure wish they could be better.

Well, fret no more. Google has got the answer to your entire problem, especially if you’re a Gmail user. It’s been quite some time since Google has introduced Google Talk, its official Instant Messenger, but it’s still pretty popular. With this move, Google has invaded yet another established market dominated by the likes of MSN and Yahoo!

So, what is it that sets Google Talk apart? First, let’s do a quick installation. You can download Google Talk for free from It’s a very small file (about 900 K), unlike most of the other messengers. The installation is pretty simple. To log into Google Talk, you need your Gmail ID (I am assuming you already have one).

The interface looks pretty nice and simple, doesn’t it? That’s the unique selling point (USP) of Google Talk. It’s small, it’s simple and it does what is required of it without overburdening your system resources or your tolerance.

Google Talk is very convenient if you are an avid Gmail user. For instance, the people that you most commonly e-mail using your Gmail are automatically added to your friends list in Google Talk. So, every time you chat with someone, the chat transcript is automatically saved in your Gmail (you can change this setting if you want).

The biggest plus point of Google Talk is the ability to make voice calls. All you need is a microphone and a speaker. When you first make calls from Google Talk, you’ll surely be amazed by the kind of quality that’s present in the voice calls. The reason for this is that Google has developed the audio components in collaboration with a company called Global IP Sounds. They have patented their award winning technology, which solves most of the problems one faces on an Internet voice call, such as delays, jitters and voice echoes. Given that the users have broadband connections, this results in a crystal clear voice quality on most of the calls one makes.

Google Talk has most of the options commonly found in instant messengers today. It can start automatically with Windows, give you notifications when friends come online and it lets you know when you receive a new e-mail in your Gmail account. Similarly, it displays a notification and plays a telephone sound when a friend calls you on Google Talk.

So, here it is. It’s just a simple text based IM client. Google clearly believes in the fact that you don’t need tons of smileys to communicate effectively over an IM. They have made simplicity and a great interface once again. They have done it before and they have continued the tradition with Google Talk.

~ Yogesh Bakshi