An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to gostips@gmail.com.

April 4, 2008

Google Talk, Labs Edition

There's a new flavor of Google Talk: the Labs edition, a desktop client that looks very similar to the Google Talk gadget and has most of its features. The application doesn't support voice chat or file transfer, it's still Windows-only, but it has some new features: it lets you launch Google Calendar and Orkut, while including notifications for Google Calendar events and Orkut scraps. The new Google Talk uses WebKit to render some parts of the interface.

I don't find too many reasons why someone would switch from the full-featured client to the Labs edition: group chats, smilies, tabs, while the missing features are more important. A better decisions would have been to integrate these new features in the desktop client, instead of releasing a separate application. Now we have four different flavors of Google Talk: the original client, Gmail Chat, the gadget and the Labs edition.


{ Thanks, ebass5str . }

53 comments:

  1. Though you say it's not a flash application, I get prompted to install Flash when I launch Google Talk, Labs Edition the first time

    ReplyDelete
  2. You say there are four flavors of Google Talk, but since GTalk is a Jabber server, there are actually more like hundreds of Google Talk "flavors." Pidgin is my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow this is getting really dumb.

    When they originally launched Google Talk I expected it to become the definite IM/VoIP application, the first app to be completely open AND backed up by a big company.

    Sureley they would add features like video and release a Linux and a Mac client and also the free software community will pick it up.... or not.

    Since the release they didn't do any significant changes and who wants all that web2.0 flash whatever interfaces?!

    Granted, the GMail integration is very nice... when I'm not on my own computer. But the other 90% of the time I want a real desktop app, _with_features_

    The only app right now that reliably provides IM and VoIP without any hassle that all people can us is Skype. And it's a damn shame Google doesn't seem interested in changing that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And will they ever integrate AIM into the desktop client?

    ReplyDelete
  5. It seems that they have different teams working on talk and they don't contact each other at all. Why they don't integrate these new features in the original desktop client? Or they just believe the more visions, the more users??!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Agreed on the development oddness of google talk. Why can't they get aim login with the desktop client, or at least the web gadget.

    And what happened to AOL moving to jabber, and we can forget all this multiple login stuff and have it all interpolate with each other.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I can't seem to get it installed. It dies with a 1603 "fatal error" during the install process. It's a no-go.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This kinda pisses me off. Finally, I get news that maybe my Google Talk program will get updated, only to find out that half its features get stripped out. The reason why I can't use the Gmail chat plugin is because sometimes I type too fast and characters are lost from my message, causing me to retype the entire message.

    Can't Google make one ring to rule them all?

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is not funny anymore.
    I'm starting to think, that they've lost source code for a desktop client ... or they are drinking too much every day. I can see no other options why they are making such things :(

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm a fan of Google Talk but I wonder what they are doing lately. The desktop client is badly neglected while it lacks so many feautures. It would be a great client if it had group-chat, smilies, webcam,...but now it's just too basic. And instead of working on the client they just make a new one???

    There are already so many ways of using Google Talk, how can Google ever keep up with this? Really really a bad step and I wonder how the Gtalk future looks like because now I have no idea.

    Disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  11. only for windoze ! No love for OS X. You get an .exe instead of an .dmg file. Oeps.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The reason why Google Talk has a Labs Edition now could very well be that they're working on getting this thing cross-platform. But, honestly: Who would use the Google Talk client on Linux, anyway?

    I'm thrilled they're finally working on the desktop version again. I still like the desktop version, but there's so much room for improvements...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think the development is very slow compared to what I expected, but it's the right move and goes in the direction I thought was going to be. Notice Webkit is the browser platform for Android.
    I think this is going to replace the other desktop client later, they will add the voice and file transfer capabilities to it, but has many more advantages: small download - not as dependant of the features (much of the interface, code will be on the server side), easier to port to other platforms, easier to maintain as they have only one interface for module and client, more consistance, etc.
    They just need to add into every OS-specific version the code which it's not possible to do in the browser: file transfer, voice, events notification. As much as posible, they will provide by the browser. And it could be even that video / voice would be provided via Flash in the future... They already capture your picture from the webcam and other developers have made some video chat products with Flash already.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Fatal Error.

    Now they can't even make an installer that installs the app. Great!

    ReplyDelete
  15. The installer encountered error 1603: Fatal error during installation.

    Perhaps it's not compatible with Vista? Anyway, this seems a bit of a strange move for Google, but it's nice to see that they're still working on the desktop client. I imagine they'll integrate the voice & file transfer features into this Labs version and bring out the webcam features in Libjingle and make the whole thing multiplatform thanks to it being based on Webkit (like Android, as somebody already mentioned).

    It's in Labs... hopefully they'll get it stable soon and get some more developers on it to get a nice client released sooner rather than later. I've been using Google Talk since the beginning and an update is long overdue.

    ReplyDelete
  16. For the ones running vista, right click the installer and then choose run as administrator. That solved my problem.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just discovered the Run as Administrator workaround, but it seems somebody has beaten me to it!

    It's just a shell for the Flash application with a couple of notifications... is this really all the team working on the Google Talk client have done in the last two years? I find that very hard to believe and I hope we'll see some of the other results soon.

    One positive thing about this version of the Flash client is it doesn't seem to suffer from the typing lag that the client did - perhaps thanks to WebKit doing the rendering rather than Firefox? I haven't tried the gadget in Safari.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I liked the old interface it just needed more features...
    Don't like the conversation windows tabbed in the labs edition :(

    ReplyDelete
  19. "The application doesn't support voice chat"

    Then why do they call it "Google Talk" Labs edition ? It should be named as Google chat...:-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. What is wrong with Google! I know them as a creative company, but with a simple IM they can't even do the basic things like webcam and Mac, Linux support. what is making them too slow to understand and develop what do the people need.

    ReplyDelete
  21. If I were to guess, I would say the Talk team probably started working on a phone dialing feature and then decided to buy Grand Central. Then they decided to work on integration with Grand Central before releasing the next update. Then along came the web applications and updates to the Gmail integration.

    I'm sure they have been busy for the last two years. But I would love to see a full story on the behind the scenes process.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Is this similar to the sidebar version of GTalk?

    ReplyDelete
  23. I was really hoping they would have Linux support this time...

    ReplyDelete
  24. i can't make it work on XP :|

    and i'm still waiting for integration with WLM/MSN, but this was a step backwards :|

    ReplyDelete
  25. Put AIM in there (and let it keep the logs in gmail like AIM in Gmail does) and I'd start using it (or at least give it a try).

    Put a tabbed interface that gives me a tab with a gmail preview (like the igoogle widget) and a tab with my gcal preview (like the google desktop widget) and I'd LOVE it.

    I don't use Voip and file transfer, so that doesn't matter to me, but I'm sure it would still be nice to have.

    ReplyDelete
  26. It doesn't connect to the internet. I agree at the moment there is no need to swich to this edition at all.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have to agree with others. Though I had no problems loading or opening. I feel like there are too many Talks to choose from. For those of us who know just enough to be dangerous (I just learned what an RSS feed is) that many choices can be very confusing. Making change is like turning the Titanic, I completely understand that. My suggestion... pick ONE Talk and Beta the other options with a select handful and *then* integrate into the original. Thanks for all you do & keep up the good work!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. In my eyes the new talk client is just a wrapper for the online Google Talk Gadget. I think they're just loading the gadget version inside the desktop client which results in huge advantages in the development. In this way they could continue developing on the gadget which in turn would also update the client version.
    I hope development will go rather quickly s.t. they're integrating the most essential features such as file transfer and voice calls etc...From a design perspective the new product is great.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I can't even type to anyone. I keep getting the annoying noise that tells me "you can't do that". What a huge disappointment. I'll go back to the old one and continue waiting...

    ReplyDelete
  30. IT seems that the Labs Client is no longer available at the link above.

    I guess all of the complaining changed things.

    ReplyDelete
  31. This little desktop app is PERFECT for what I need at work - I am tired of having a browser open all the time to monitor my e-mail and calendar (I use Google for both), and the gmail notifier did not help with the calendar part. Now I can have just this little app running and if I get an e-mail or have a calendar item coming up, it lets me know and I can launch a browser if I want. I use minimal chat features at work (just typing w/ coworkers), so I am not troubled by the missing file transfer and voip features, but I do need those at home, so I'll continue to use the desktop app there. I really like the choices, honestly, and I think Google may be using all these little beta releases of not-quite-ready-for-primetime apps to test the waters? And even though it's so basic in this first release, I am pretty excited about where this one might go.

    ReplyDelete
  32. As long as this application lacks key features such as: VOIP and video-conference, I see no reason why anybody would prefer Google Talk to Skype or MSM messenger...
    The boys at google need to get to work, they're lagging way behind on this one.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Duh, does not allow you to select text from conversations. WTF!
    It's great otherwise. Try sending a YouTube video link. Also has group chat. The emoticons oughtta be better.

    ReplyDelete
  34. "Google Talk, Labs Edition is a first step towards a more unified experience whether you're using Talk through the web or on the desktop. Some of our savvy users may already appreciate the advantages of this approach, and we are confident that the continued improvements being made will translate into a better Google Talk experience for all our users."

    (Google Talk Blog)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I look at this from two views. As a developer i understand that reusing the web client in the desktop client will be easier than developing two seperate clients. Using webkit instaid of Internet Explorer makes it more easy to port the client to lets say linux or mac. (same goes for flash)

    As a user i only see this:
    1. No Voice Chat / File Transfer
    2. Conversations in tabs :S (i realy liked the way the windows stick to together in the old app)
    3. It just seems a bit slow (i don't care why, thats not the point. it can't be an improvement if it's slower)
    4. The whole web thingy doesn't feel right to me on my desktop. (partly due to the lack of speed)

    like some others i'm allso wondering what happend to the old app's Team/Source.
    the creators of the old app can't be happy with the labs edition right? I hope they fight for it ;)

    ReplyDelete
  36. well... no new versions since when?

    just a small improvement on gmail chat, with new smiles. that's all :x

    ReplyDelete
  37. Okay.
    Theres a couple of things that i find very ....irksome.


    1.in the previous version of gtalk ,there was an option of "Check Mail Now".Nothing here.

    2.If i try to goto orkut/gmail by right clicking gtalk,it says that the page was invalid.

    3.plus ,it crashes if you run it in 4 bit color :P [i have a funny gfx card that boots up in 4 bit,i have to manually change the resolution adn the bitrate each time :( ]

    ReplyDelete
  38. ahah, google talk client (not GTLE) is dead.

    with the launch of gmail chat video feature, the client is missing a lot of stuff. so... this is it. :x

    ReplyDelete
  39. its a shame if there would be no real desktop app for google talk that includes webcam and voice.

    i don't thing google talk could compete with other clients like msn without a good fast and stable desktop app.

    the webcam inside of gmail is great tough!

    ReplyDelete
  40. hey fellas, you're all complaining in the wrong place! go to https://services.google.com/inquiry/talk_suggest and tell them what you want most! they're listening there!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Google Talk project is dead. Google thinks the future is web based. Stupid. Well, but there’s thing good looking and WORKING client WITH voice and video camera support called Windows Live Messenger. Thanks Microsoft!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I solved the 1603 by getting the windows installer cleanup utility
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301
    removing google gears from the installed program (add/remove...) list, and then trying to install gears. that worked.

    ReplyDelete
  43. There is no scroll for the number of people shown online. Bigger the window , more the num shown online.. very irksome !!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Yap we really need file transfer feature. It can help allot.
    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I have to admin that google talk really sucks. the desktop client has two versions, one of which (standard) does not support group chats, and another one (lab edition) can't make calls.
    neither of them support groups for contacts (even from my own "gmail contacts"!!). neither has hotkeys support.
    are you kidding me? is this an internal project developed by students at google?
    web version sucks even more - google guys, have you ever tried to use it on a regular basis? :-\

    ReplyDelete
  46. Is there a google labs edition for G1 mobile?

    ReplyDelete
  47. They are putting all of their effort into Google Wave... That's why..

    ReplyDelete
  48. The page
    http://www.google.com/talk/labsedition/faq.html

    links to the google group for the labs edition (last faq entry at the bottom of the page):
    http://groups.google.com/group/google-talk-labs-edition-discussion-group/

    Now try that link. You get to a page telling you:
    "The group named google-talk-labs-edition-discussion-group has been removed because it violated Google's Terms Of Service."

    Even you own groups violate your own terms of service???

    ReplyDelete
  49. many years ago, I use google talk, bad quality, but I hope it better now so I should try it again.

    ReplyDelete
  50. the only good option available in this s the "invisible " which was a feature missing in gtalk

    ReplyDelete
  51. what has happened with google talk labs edition?
    google talk labs edition homepage and download links are broken, error 404.
    it is possible to fetch file from softpedia http://www.softpedia.com/progDownload/Google-Talk-Labs-Edition-Download-97358.html but online installer doesnt work.
    google talk labs edition dead, isnt it?

    ReplyDelete