GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkWould You Have Touched AIM If AOL Had Required You To Sign Up For An Email Account?
10:49:37 PM
Written By : Richard SchwartzCategory : Industry News And Comment
Location : Nashua, NH

I've tried Google Talk because, well... it's there and a lot of people are trying it. I try a lot of things, and... I did already have a GMail account. It's required in order to use Google Talk.

I've invited a bunch of people into Google Talk. I've had a few brief chats on Google Talk. It's simple. You might even say that it's sparse. There's nothing special there. It's hard to imagine that it took Google's engineers much time to build the chat portion and UI. I haven't tried the VoIP yet, but it's hard to imagine that it will be all that diiferent than using Skype.

There's no visible tie-in to Google's ad-driven revenue model... not now, at least.. but I still have to believe that Google Talk is part of Google's master plan for world domination. Why else would they require that users have GMail accounts?

When I first started using instant messaging, I chose AIM over ICQ because it was more user friendly. Also, the ICQ web site's home page was a total mess. I know, however, that I never would have touched AIM if I had been required to have an AOL email account -- even a free one. I would definitely have gone over to ICQ instead. Apart from the fact that I already had the GMail account though, I see no reason to view Google Talk any differently. There's no justification for their requiring a GMail account. I don't think that Google will have a serious impact in IM unless they drop the requirement, and actually I hope that they don't have a serious impact in IM precisely because I don't think that the user community should acquiesce to the idea of a public IM system being tied to any one vendor's email system.

No links to Google Talk are included in this post. I'm sure you can find it if you want to. You can use it if you want to. I'll probably continue to use it on occasion, too, but I doubt I'll invite anyone else in. Not unless I know they already have a GMail account, or if they ask me for an invite -- in which case I'll happily oblige. But unlike AIM, which I recommended to many friends and business associates when I was first getting into it, I'm not going to do it for GMail. I like Google's search engine a lot, and GMail is useful as a secondary email account, but I'm as unwilling to support their plans for world domination as I am unwilling to support Microsoft's.

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Comments :v

1. Stephan H. Wissel08/27/2005 01:03:45 AM

Well spoken,
eventually they might not be the bad guys.... if they ad multi protocol listening and server to server IM. At least they use an open protocol.

2. Jess Stratton08/27/2005 09:25:21 AM

I get lots of "IM" spam... I think proving who you are by having an email address on the same network will help reduce this. Even Google couldn't catch an IM spammer if their email address was "". That does them Google absolutely no good at all.
It's probably Google trying to keep the signal-to-noise ratio and quality of their service up.
And as for your subject of your blog, I really don't care what service I use... I use what I have to to match the person I want to talk to!

That's why I love Trillian.

3. Ben Langhinrichs08/27/2005 10:35:37 AM

I don't have a GMail account, and have no intention of getting one, so I guess I won't get to try Google Talk either

4. Richard Schwartz08/27/2005 03:05:54 PM

@Jess: Even if I did believe that Google was doing this to help prevent IM abuse, frankly I'd call that unwanted paternalism. I don't, however, believe it. What more does Google know about someone with a GMail account? All they really know is another email address, which could easily be "", so I don't see how the requirement of a GMail account gives them any better control over IM spam than any other IM service. OTOH, the fact that in the last six or seven years I've only gotten one spam over AIM may make me less sympathetic to that point of view. Admittedly, I did get a lot more spams during the (very) brief period that I had an active ICQ account.

@Ben: Somehow, I'm not surprised at all by your reaction.

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