The Google Talk Gadget, also known as Gtalk, is a freeware application for the Windows operating system (compatible with XP, Windows 7, Vista and Server 2003) which allows users to text and voice chat. To be able to use Gtalk, you will have to sign up for a Google Talk account.
If you already have a Google Talk login account, go to the Google Talk sign in page to access Gtalk. You don’t even have to download the Google Talk client since you can open a popup window to use the service. In addition, Google Talk is fully integratable with Google’s orkut social networking service so you can make online phone calls or chat with orkut friends. You can even add an iGoogle Gtalk app to your personalized Google homepage or even to your personal website or blog.
Google Talk mobile apps are also available for the iPhone and the Blackberry as well as mobile devices using the Android operating system. And you can even run Google Talk through your USB flash disk or other similar portable storage device using the GTalk portable app.
With Google Talk you can:
- Send instant messages
- Make free long distance calls using VoIP
- Send and receive status updates and even let your friends know what tracks you’re listening to on your status menu, which automatically refreshes when you change tracks
- Chat with multiple people simultaneously using the Group Chat button to invite your friends to the conversation
- Send unlimited documents, pictures and videos to your friends with no restrictions on file size and type.
- Leave offline messages for your friends that they will receive the next time they go to the Gtalk sign in page and log in
- Leave voice mail for your friends which they will receive as an e-mail with the message attached as an audio clip
- Popout support lets you pop out the Gadget into a separate window so you can continue to use it even after navigating away from your personalized Google homepage and surfing other websites
The Google Talk beta version was released on August 2005 and the Gtalk launch was most notable for two reasons: one, it used the open standard communications protocol XMPP, a practice which it continues today, and it included Internet telephony using VoIP, something that other messaging services such as those offered by Yahoo! and AOL did not offer. By using XMPP, Gtalk beta was able to send messages to other clients using the protocol, something that services such as Yahoo! Messenger and AOL AIM did not permit as users could only send messages to other users of the same service.
At present, Gtalk has upgraded its integrated chat to allow users to sign in to the AOL Instant Messenger chat service and chat with other AIM users while remaining in Gtalk login status. It has also added a chatback feature which allows Gtalk users to chat with friends who don’t have a Google account. The friend has to create a badge to be able to chat through Gtalk and both users have to use the Google Talk Gadget. Both users also remain anonymous with no identifying information given, not even the Google account name. Or you can send your friends Google Talk sign up email invitations so they can chat with you.